Captain Glen Patrick Aroza, the Master of the Japanese very large crude carrier Tosa, who was facing charges of alleged involuntary manslaughter was exonerated of all charges by a three-judge bench in Taiwan on Friday 26 March 2010, says BIMCO. The prosecution has been given ten days to appeal and until then Captain Aroza cannot leave Taiwan.
Captain Aroza was under investigation for allegedly failing to come to the aid of a capsized fishing vessel, Hsin Tung Chuan 86, which was involved in an alleged incident with a crude carrier owned by Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) of Japan. Two Taiwanese fishermen died in the incident which took place on 18 April 2009.
Although Captain Aroza was sleeping at the time of the incident, he was accused by the Taiwanese prosecutors of failure in the duty of care because he did not provide adequate instructions to the crew when navigating an area of sea known to be the favoured site of many fishing vessels.
The case appears to display several potential elements of unfair treatment, including the fact that Captain Aroza as well as the second officer and another crewmember had been held for close to three months without charge following the incident before Taiwanese prosecutors moved to indict them. BIMCO is therefore pleased to note this latest development in the case.