Bulker Boozer Banned

 maritime safety news  Comments Off on Bulker Boozer Banned
Mar 082012

Booze and bulker didn't mix

The Vessel Master of the M/V Laconia has pleaded guilty to operating a commercial vessel under the influence of alcohol on the Columbia River. Georgios Choulis pled guilty and was sentenced by the Honorable Marco Hernandez to one year probation and a $500 fine. Choulis is also prohibited from sailing in any capacity on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States for one year.

Choulis was charged by information with negligent operation of a commercial vessel, a class A misdemeanor. Choulis was the only licensed Vessel Master on the M/V Laconia, a 736 foot commercial vessel, sailing under the flag of Malta. M/V Laconia was attempting to cross the Columbia Bar, one of the most dangerous bars in the world, when the Coast Guard and a pilot from the Columbia River Bar Pilots Association boarded the M/V Laconia to assist in crossing the bar. Choulis was not present for the crossing and was instead found sleeping in his berth with a strong odor of alcoholic beverages surrounding him. Coast Guard officials observed an almost empty bottle of scotch and the defendant appeared to be slurring his words. A breathalyzer test indicated Choulis had a blood alcohol content of .287. Another breathalyzer, approximately one hour later showed a blood alcohol content of .118. Federal law prohibits the operation of commercial vessels with a blood alcohol content over .04. Choulis was taken into custody on February 28, 2012 and pled guilty three days later on March 2, 2012.

“Today we send a message that we will fight to protect sailors, property and the environment on the waters of the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. “If you fail to comply with federal law on the waters of the United States, you will be held to account. We will not tolerate the reckless acts of those who endanger safety in commercial shipping and maritime. I want to thank the Coast Guard and other agencies involved in their prompt and professional investigation of this matter and bringing this defendant to justice.”

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Drunk Chief Engineer Refused Lifejacket, Died

 Accident, Accident report, lifejacket, Man Overboard  Comments Off on Drunk Chief Engineer Refused Lifejacket, Died
Aug 062010

Top: Martin N Bottom: OW Copenhagen

Three times a chief engineered refused a lifejacket as he attempted to transfer from a snow and ice-covered launch to the oil and chemical tanker OW Copenhagen using the pilot ladder. He boasted that he had never worn a lifejacket. He fell from the pilot ladder and drowned.

Seawater temperature was at freezing point and air temperature was about -5 °C.

His body was taken from the sea 50 minutes later.

Says the Danish Maritime Authority report: “On 1 February 2010 at approximately 1700 hours, the launch MARTIN N was engaged to transfer a chief engineer who had been on leave from shore to the oil and chemical tanker OW COPENHAGEN that was at anchor on Copenhagen roads.

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Master Tipples His Way To Unemployment

 news  Comments Off on Master Tipples His Way To Unemployment
Jan 122010

image Captain Valery Semenov will not be going to sea for a while. He lost his £50k job after he was noticed to be having problems berthing the 8,045 DWT general cargo ship Balu C in Southampton and subsequently breathalysed and found to have three time the legal limit of alcohol.

Balu C is a 2008-built general cargo ship registered in Antigua and Barbuda. She was on passage from Amsterdam to Southampton with a cargo of grain with a crew of twelve.

Semonov pleaded guilty at Southampton Magistrates Court, was given a fine of £2000 and a rather modest costs of £100 and remanded in custody for up to 45 days, or at least until the fine is paid. Captain Jeremy Smart, head of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Enforcement Unit says: “The Master of a ship bears a heavy responsibility. To carry out this responsibility whilst under the influence of alcohol is grossly irresponsible. It is fortunate that on this occasion the vessel berthed safely.

“The MCA will always pursue such cases with great vigour.”

Booze and seafarers have been closely associated for centuries,of course. As Denmark has complained, there has been a particular problem with Eastern European officers.

Relevant Posts:

Danish Looks At Boozer’s Blood

60 Fired For Booze, Drugs

Seafarers Second Most Likely To Die From Alcohol

Accident Report – Karin Schepers and the Stranger on the Bridge

Where Was Jackie Chan When The Drunken Master Needed Him?

Seafarer + Booze = MOB


Accident Report – Karin Schepers and the Stranger on the Bridge

 Accident report, alcohol, containership, fatigue, grounding  Comments Off on Accident Report – Karin Schepers and the Stranger on the Bridge
Aug 082009

A stranger told him the vessel had grounded

“He first realized that the ship was aground when a man he did not know came on the bridge.”

So says the Danish Maritime Authority report on the grounding of the containership Karin Schepers on 22 March 2009. The only good news in the incident is, according to the report: “The passage planning was found to be conducted in a satisfactory manner.”

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Be Big and Bold To Avoid The Bang

 accident reporting, collision  Comments Off on Be Big and Bold To Avoid The Bang
Sep 122008

Make sure people know what you’re up to, especially when the master’s had a few too many, is one of the lessons from the Danish Maritime Authority’s report on the collision between the Rudokop, a converted tug, and a single-crewed fishing vessel, Atlantic in May this year despite good visibility.

Rudokop was on passage from Seville to Gydnia, moving eastwards with a crew of five. The master had been drinking and was under the influence of alcohol. The Chief Officer, who wasn’t affected by alcohol, had the watch. Atlantic, and another vessel, were seen ahead and to starboard at a distance of 6 nautical miles retrieving their fishing gear.

Atlantic started steaming a northerly course towards Rønne, approaching Rudokop from starboard.

Rudokop did not give way to Altlantic and her collision avoidance manouevers were too small to be effective or to be seen by the skipper of Atlantic and no sound signals were given, so he wasn’t aware of Rudokop’s intentions. Atlantic’s skipper did not keep an adequate lookout to avoid collision, according to the report.

Evidently, in this situation, movements should be big and bold enough to be apparent to the other vessel together with sound signals even in clear weather because the other fellow might not be watching you.