Feb 232010
 
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Tug Valour: Crew didn't follow stability letter

Tug Valour, a 1975-built ocean-going tug, sank on 18 January, 2006,  while towing a barge loaded with 175,000 barrels of oil. Three lives were lost because the crew did not adhere to the vessel’s stability letter  and cross-connect valves between port and starboard tanks pairs were left open in seas of up to 6 metres and winds reaching as much as 50 knots.

The US Coast Guard has issued a ‘lessons learned’ regarding the incident.

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May 022009
 

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Sailor lost as tug capsizes
The National – Abu Dhabi,United Arab Emirates
All five crew on the tug were thrown into the water as it quickly overturned with the force of the collision. The four survivors, a Bahrani and three .

Crewman on vessel killed in fuel-leaked fire
Thanh Nien Daily – Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam
A Ho Chi Minh City vessel caught fire off the central province of Quang Ngai on Wednesday after a fuel pipe broke, killing a crewmember.

Man drowns after falling into waters at Port Khaled

According to police, the victim was on a cargo vessel at the port when he then fell off the boat and drowned. An investigation has been launched as to how he fell over the vessel.

Main gearbox failure eyed in North Sea Super Puma crash
Aviation International News – Midland Park,NJ,USA
An eyewitness, working on a supply vessel approximately two nautical miles from the accident site, heard the helicopter and saw it descend rapidly before it

Biden manages to anger everyone over bad flu advice
Christian Science Monitor – Boston,MA,USA
The Japanese government severely restricted maritime travel to and from the home islands when the pandemic struck.

Gigantic risks
Lloyd’s List – London,UK
The loss of the MSC Napoli and its cargo, a relative minnow compared to the new generation of boxships, is now the second most costly insurance incident .

Coast Guard Releases Tour Boat Death Report
KHON2 – Honolulu,HI,USA
“When you have a vessel that’s been cleared numerous times to operate despite having numerous problems with it, you’re talking about gross neglect,” said

Efforts on to trace sailor: VS
Kerala Online – Kerala,India
He boarded the vessel on April 10 as it set sail with its cargo for Singapore. Capt. Vinay Singh, director of the shipping company, wrote to Mr. James that

Leader of infamous ship hijacking released yesterday from Italian
WorldNetDaily – Washington,DC,USA
Cossiga singles out Palestinian groups as responsible for a 1980 explosion at an Italian train station that killed 85 people and wounded 200 more.

Coast Guard verifies position of fishing vessel Lady Mary | Coast
By cgnews
The Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation, the group in charge of looking into the facts and circumstances surrounding the sinking of the vessel, solicited the help of the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Willow, a 225-foot buoy

Piracy

Ship Captain: Arming Crews Will Not Stop Piracy – Detroit Local
Clancey noted that many governments will not let a ship with armed crew dock in their ports. And the notion of crew members, armed and out to sea for weeks or months, could be a recipe for deadly and costly accidents. “There have been incidents where innocent bystanders have been killed,” Clancey said. “There is exposure.”

Pirate attack foiled by navy
Straits Times – Singapore
On April 24, Nato decided to extend its anti-piracy work off the coast of Somalia. Four vessels from Nato’s Standing Naval Maritime Group One have been

Did MSC Passengers Fight Off Melody’s Pirates?
Cruise Critic – Pennington,NJ,USA
writes, “The only casualty was American John Wright, cut by glass splinters as a MSC Cruises had taken advice from the Maritime Security Center.


In Philippine waters? Keep your cellphone on

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on In Philippine waters? Keep your cellphone on
Jul 292008
 

Local reports in the Philippines quote Philippine Coastguard officials rely on cellphones and text messages to get the co-ordinates of ships in trouble because they don’t have the capability of receiving EPIRB signals.

Writing in the Philippine Inquirer, a report by Leila Salaverria quotes Emelson Morales, safety officer of Sulpicio Lines, owner of the ferry Princess Of The Stars which capsized in June with the loss of 800 passengers and crew, “”As far as I know, the Philippine authorities have no capability to get the signal from EPIRB. Sometimes we ask, what’s the need for this EPIRB? You’re better off texting your coordinates, get it through your GPS.”

Princess Of The Stars was equipped with an EPIRB which did not activate during the incident and as far as is known no efforts have been made to locate it on the inverted wreck to determine whether or not it was activated and deployed. While it may have activated automatically as the vessel capsized it is unlikely that its signal could be received if it is still aboard the ship and under water.

Although Morales is quoted as suggesting that the EPIRB may have been disabled by damage subsained by storm winds causing it to hit a wall, “That’s the only way for it not to send a signal because it’s automatic,” he says, the majority of EPIRB failures are due to poor maintenance, in particular the battery.

Morales also believed that the ship’s medium frequency, high frequency, VHF and two-way radio equipment antennae were damaged by the storm winds and so couldn’t be used for emergency communications. Only a single side-band radio and a cellphone were used when the ship ran into trouble.

The Philippine Coastguard is poorly equipped for emergencies. No GMDSS station is currently functioning in the archipelago and it is not equipped to receive DSC.  A spokeman for the Philippine Coastguard, PCG, Lieutenant Armand Balilo, is cited as saying that the PCG itself only has VHF and HF radios. It has some 108 VHF AND 78 HF radios to cover more than 7,000 islands, sixteen more VHF radios are not functioning, and PCG relies to cellphones.

So if you’re passing through the Philippines make sure your cellphone is handy, charged and loaded

Jul 092008
 

Fatal accident at Savannah ports
WTOC – Savannah,GA,USA
They say an International Longshoremen was working with the Stevedore Society of America near or on the vessel, The Saga Journey when the accident occurred.

The Spirit of Nantucket runs aground – again
The Virginian-Pilot – Norfolk,VA,USA
After about nine hours, the ship was refloated. Passengers were taken to an airport. A Coast Guard spokesman said it’s not clear whether the grounding was

Crew rescued from sinking ship
News24 – South Africa
Johannesburg – Thirty six crew members were rescued after a Spanish fishing vessel caught fire and sank off the east coast of southern Africa, the Cape Town


Crews still monitoring Miami cargo ship fire
Associated Press – July 8, 2008 10:24 AM ET MIAMI (AP) – Firefighters are still at the scene of a massive cargo ship fire that is smoldering on the Miami River.

14 boat migrants missing off Spain
International Herald Tribune – France
Maritime rescue official Miguel Zea said planes, boats and helicopters were searching the area, but there was very little chance of finding anyone alive,

Coast Guard OKs return of cruise ship to Juneau after grounding
International Herald Tribune – France
However, the ship does have structural damage which must be corrected before it can again carry passengers. Officials say the cause of the grounding remains

Ship Mona Lisa’s costly evacuation

RIGA- The freeing of the stranded ship Mona Lisa and evacuation of passengers cost Latvia 135,000 lats (EUR 192,000).

Ieva Aile, head of the governmental press service, told the Baltic News Service that Latvian lawyers are still negotiating with the insurer two financial positions that will decide whether value added tax is included in the total sum to be paid to Latvia.

2 BMI probers quit with guns blazing
Inquirer.net – Philippines
But veteran ship captains Rear Adm. Benjamin Mata and Commodore Amado Romillo went out with guns blazing against Sulpicio Lines Inc., owners of the

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Jun 232008
 

Death came early this year. The typhoon season has only just started and already, brightly coloured flop-flop rubber sandals are arriving on the coastlines of Sibuyan in the central Philippines. They are very small slippers because many children were among the 800 or so aboard the 1984-built 23,824 tonnes Sulpicio Lines Princess Of The Stars that capsized on morning of June 21 in a typhoon known internationally as Fengshen and in the Philippines as Frank.

One can only say ‘or so’ because it is unlikely anyone will ever know exactly how many people were aboard. Passenger manifests are unreliable in a country where regulations are rarely enforced, even if they are supposedly adequate in the first place. In a grounding incident in 2007 a ferry had a manifest of a little more than two dozen people, the Philippine Coast Guard rescued more than a hundred. The true human cost of the Dona Paz disaster in 1987 remains unknown, except that it possibly exceeded 4,000.

Current known figures for the Princess Of The Stars are around 626 passengers, an unknown number of minors, and 212 crew. At the time of writing there are four confirmed dead and 34 known survivors.

Sulpicio Lines has a poor safety record. In addition to the Princess Of The Stars and the Dona Paz, other casualties include the Dona Marilyn in 1988 and the Princess of the Orient in 1998. The Philippine government has ordered it to stop operations and inspections of the company’s other vessels is underway. Volunteers against Crime and Corruption, VACC, has said it will file a class suit against Sulpicio Lines management.

The domestic ferry industry has a traditional safety problem: In 1994 the William Lines Cebu City collided with a Singaporean vessel, Kota Suria, and sank with the loss of 140 lives; Kimelody Cristy of Moreta Shipping caught fire and sank in 1995; in 1996: An overcrowded wooden ferry, ML Gretchen, capsizes close to shore of central Negros island, killing 54, including 31 children, and leaving 12 missing; Trans-Asia Shipping’s Asian South Korea, another ferry, sank in 1999;Maria Carmela, a ro-ro ferry owned by Montenegro Shipping, caught fire in 2002 with 2390 people on board of which 23 were confirmed dead and 27 missing;the wooden ferry Catalyn-D caught fire and sank in 2007 losing five lives out of 250 people on board.

Despite the regularity of maritime incidents in Philippine waters there is no full-time independent maritime investigation agency in the Philippines. Marina, the country’s maritime regulatory body delegates its enforcement functions to the Philippine Coastguard, which allowed the vessel to leave Manila as the typhoon was approaching. Both agencies will conduct the investigation.

Philippine President Gloria Magapagal Arroyo has, as is usual in high-visibility incidents, ordered a board of inquiry to be convened but there is no legal requirement for any of its members to be qualified maritime casualty investigators and consists of Coast Guard officers, Marina officials and members or graduates of the government-own Philippine Merchant Marine Academy. A lawyer is required to be one of the members but he, or she, is not required to have expertise in maritime law.

The aim of the Board is to establish liability, safety issues are secondary. Despite that, not a single ferry company or ship owner has been brought to book in any incident in the Philippines.

Casualty investigation reports are not made accessible to the public.

International maritime investigators would like to bring the Philippines within the fold and help it develop a more realistic and effective investigative capability but the political will is lacking, which may not be unconnected with the high level connections between ferry companies, shipowners and the country’s legislators.

It is unlikely that the Philippines will respond to the new IMO code of conduct for maritime casualty investigation any time soon. Despite becoming a member in the mid-1960s the Philippines has yet to lodge a single maritime casualty investigation report with the IMO, as it is mandated to do for serious casualties under the terms of its membership, despite the recent election of a Filipino, Neil Ferrer, as IMO deputy secretary general.

Currently, fingers are being pointed in all directions. The vessel left Manila at about 8pm on Friday, 20th June as Typhoon Fengshen approached the islands. Storm Signal Number One, the lowest level warning, had been issued by the Pagasa, the country’s under-funded and under-equipped weather bureau.

Although the typhoon was not predicted to present a threat on the vessel’s route, typhoons are notoriously erratic. Although not expected to hit the main island of Luzon, by 11.30 the highest level warning was issued, Number Three, but by then the Princess Of The Seas was in the Visayas region still heading for Cebu.

The vessel was allowed to leave Manila because it was believed that she would only enter the periphery of typhoon, but the typhoon suddenly changed direction, putting the vessel directly in its path. It reached Sibuyan Island at around 7am

According to reports, at about non on Saturday, 21st June, the ship’s main engine failed, but some survivors say the ship only slowed down as it encountered large waves. With winds of 73 miles an hour gusting up to 94 miles and hour the ship listed off the coast of Sibuyan Island in Romblon province and took on water. The master, Captain Florencio Marimon, who is still missing, ordered all passengers to abandon the ferry, which capsized 15 minutes later.

Reportedly, few passengers were able to board the 14 liferafts, a number of which flipped over in the large swells and high winds, and about half were able to don lifejackets before jumping off the ship.

Later, police in the town of San Fernando in Romblon province reported that the vessel was two or three kilometres offshore, upside down off the coast of the town, her bow-thrusters visible.

History suggests that the Princess Of The Stars tragedy will have little effect on the safety of Philippine ferry passengers or their crew. The Philippines will continue to ignore its obligations to the IMO and to the security of its travelling public because there isn’t the political will to do otherwise no matter how many children’s rubber slippers wash up on its beaches.

Jun 222008
 

We have reports of a ferry capsize involving the deaths of more than 800, four survivors. We’ll give more when it has been confirrned. The vessel was the Princess Of The Stars, operated by Sulpicio Lines.

It is probable that a board of inquiry will be convened. The Philippines has no independent casualty investigation agency and members of the board are not required to have any knowledge of casualty investigation.

The Philippines does not normally lodge casualty investigation reports with the International Maritime Organisation nor make reports publicly available.