Jul 292014

Morning Midas. Photo: Eukor Car Carriers Inc.

Overboard is not the place for discarded mooring lines as  Lombard Corporate Finance Ltd., owner of the Eukor car carrier Morning Midas, discovered in an Australian courtroom. As Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority, AMSA. points out wandering mooring lines are a hazard to other vessels, which is how this case came to light.

The errant 30 to 25 metre line was discovered the hard way by the pilot

launch Wyuna III in the early hours ofAugust 1, 2012 near the pilot boarding station outside Port Phillip Heads when it became entangled in the propellers of the launch and stalled its engines.
An AMSA investigation found charts linking two GPS locations from the Morning Midas deck log book and the site of the collision of the Wyuna III with the mooring line. Morning Midas  failed to report a danger to navigation posed by the mooring line.

Continue reading »

Dec 242012
The hydrocarbon leak occurred in connection with the testing of two emergency shutdown valves (ESDVs) on Heimdal’s HMP1 production, drilling and quarters platform. Photo: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

The hydrocarbon leak occurred in connection with the testing of two emergency shutdown valves (ESDVs) on Heimdal’s HMP1 production, drilling and quarters platform. Photo: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, PSA, has notified Statoil of an order after its investigation of a hydrocarbon leak on Heimdal on 26 May 2012. The leak is described as among the most serious for several years on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The report identifies serious non-conformities from the regulations which are significant for safety. PSA wants Statoil to confirm that “a lack of effect” is not present on other Statoil platforms.

The hydrocarbon leak occurred in connection with the testing of two emergency shutdown valves (ESDVs) on Heimdal’s HMP1 production, drilling and quarters platform.

To prepare for the test, a pipeline was to be depressurised to the flare. This contained a ball valve with a 16-bar pressure class as the final barrier against the flare. Because it was closed, the valve experienced a pressure of 129 bar.

Gas leak
The pressure caused the seal in the valve flange to fail, resulting in a gas leak estimated at 3 500 kilograms. The initial leak rate was 16.9 kilograms per second (k/s). Gas was detected across a large area of the installation.

This leak ranks among the most serious gas emissions on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) for several years. See the RNNP reports on trends in risk level in the petroleum activity for 2001-11. Continue reading »

Nov 222011

Improperly closed drain valves on unused connections can come back and bite you, warns the Marine Safety Forum, so check they’re closed.
Says an MSF Safety Flash: After  completion of the wet bulk loading checklist the vessel commenced backloading OBM through the midship connection. Upon checking the unused connections after loading commenced, a leak was noticed from the drain valve of the port aft mud manifold.

The operation was stopped and the valve checked for closure before the operation recommenced. After restarting the backload, the valve was rechecked, no further leakage was found and the operation was completed without further incident. Continue reading »

Jun 202011
Dimitrios Grifakis, 57, of Kallithea, Greece, has been sentenced six months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for obstructing a Coast Guard inspection that took place in May 2010 aboard a Liberian-operated cargo ship M/V Capitola at the Port of Baltimore.    Grifakis was then the chief engineer of the Capitola.

In a related case, Cardiff Marine Inc., the Liberian-registered shipping company and operator of the Capitola previously pleaded guilty to obstructing a Coast Guard examination and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the US implementation of MARPOL. The company was sentenced in February 2011 to pay a $2.4 million fine, and to serve three years probation, subject to an environmental compliance plan that includes audits by an independent third party auditor.

According to Grifakis’ guilty plea and other court documents, the investigation into the M/V Capitola was launched on 3 May, 2010, at the Port of Baltimore, after a crew member informed a clergy member, who was on board the Capitola on a pastoral visit, that there had been “monkey business in the engine room,” which involved a “magic pipe.” The “magic pipe” proved to be a bypass hose that allowed the dumping of waste oil overboard, circumventing pollution prevention equipment required by law. The crew member asked the minister to alert the Coast Guard which triggered an inspection of the Capitola. Continue reading »

May 302011

handcuffsCriminal charges have been filed against Americas Marine Management Services, Inc with pollution on the Miami River. If found guilty the firm could face $500,000 in fines and five years probation.

The formal announcement says: “Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Commander, 7th Coast Guard District, and John Sall, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, announced the filing of a criminal Information charging defendant Americas Marine Management Services, Inc., d/b/a Antillean Marine, a Miami corporation, with one count of oil pollution, in violation of Title 33, United States Code, Section 1908(a); one count of failure to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book, in violation of Title 33, United States Code, Section 1908(a); and one count of failing to submit reports to the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse, in violation of Title 16, United States Code, Section 4711(g)(2). If convicted, the defendant corporation faces a fine of up to $500,000 per count and up to five years of probation.

According to the allegations in the Information, Americas Marine Management Services operated the TITAN EXPRESS from a terminal on the Miami River. On or about July 9, 2010, the crew of the TITAN EXPRESS discharged oily waste into U.S. water knowing that its pollution prevention equipment was not working. The crew of the TITAN EXPRESS further kept fictitious records about the management of the ship’s oily waste.

The Information also alleges that Americas Marine Management Services failed to submit a report to the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse in advance of the TITAN EXPRESS’ arrival at the Port of Miami. The National Ballast Information Clearinghouse is a joint program of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the United States Coast Guard. Its mandate is to understand and prevent the introduction of non-indigenous species to the fresh, brackish, and saltwater environments of the United States.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Services. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Raich.

An Information is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

May 282011

From now on ships trading in the Caribbean, including pleasure crafts, are prohibited from discharging any ship-generated garbage. Photo: Project Kansei

Jamaica’s Maritime Authority is set to get tough on pollution as new measures come into force to combat pollution in the Caribbean Sea.

On May 1, 2011 the Caribbean Sea became a Special Area for the prevention of pollution by garbage generated from ships in accordance with the provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1978 as amended , commonly known as the MARPOL Convention. MAJ Director of Legal Affairs, Bertrand Smith, welcomed the move saying: “The designation marks a significant milestone for the protection of the marine environment of Jamaica and the Wider Caribbean Region.”

From now on ships trading in the Caribbean, including pleasure crafts, are prohibited from discharging any ship-generated garbage – including plastics, paper products, rags, glass, metals, crockery, dunnage and packing materials – into the sea. Jamaica, along with the other Caribbean countries, is able to enforce stricter standards on ships calling at its ports and marinas or when they are transiting Jamaican territorial waters. Continue reading »

Apr 062011

Shell's Draugen platform photo: Shell

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has given A/S Norske Shell (Shell) a notification of order following completion of the investigation of a well incident on Draugen in December 2010.

The incident on the Draugen facility occurred in connection with a wireline operation in well 6407/9-A-01 on 4 December 2010. Shell was the operator and Seawell AS (Seawell) was the contractor for the wireline operation. The objective of the wireline operation was to replace a gas lift valve. Continue reading »

Mar 302011

Gullfaks B platform: Answers Wanted

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, PSA, platform  has identified serious deficiencies related to planning, approval and execution following a gas leak at Norway’s Gullfaks B platform on 4 December 2010. Based on this event and earlier incidents on Statoil-operated installations, the PSA has asked Øystein Michelsen, the company’s executive vice president for development and production Norway, to assess which measures he considers necessary in light of the identified deficiencies.

The gas escape on Gullfaks B occurred in connection with leak testing after maintenance work on a production well. The gas derived from a volume trapped between the downhole safety valve and the Xmas tree. It proved impossible to operate the emergency shutdown valves on the well. Continue reading »

Mar 272011

Transport Malta is investigating the grounding and subsequent complete hull failure of the Malta-registered Oliva, a 40,170 gross tonnage bulk carrier built in 2009, which occurred on 16 March 2011 at around 0510 local time on Nightingale Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. No injuries were reported and all twenty two crew members on board the vessel are said to be safe. As a precautionary measure, all crew was evacuated from the ship prior to the structural failure. Continue reading »