Costly Container Is A Boffin’ Delight

 Accident, container accident, containership  Comments Off on Costly Container Is A Boffin’ Delight
Mar 092011
 

This shipping container was discovered upside down on the seafloor by MBARI researchers in June 2004, four months after it was lost at sea. Researchers will revisit this site during the upcoming cruise. Image: © 2004 MBARI

Chances are that you’ve forgotten the walloping $3.25 million settlement the owners and operators of the container vessel Med Taipei paid to the United States to resolve allegations that the 15 containers lost overboard in 2004 resulted in long-term damage to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The container that was central to that settlement is still at the bottom of the bay, doing its thin at the service of science.

In February 2004, 15 containers fell overboard from the Med Taipei when the vessel was traveling on rough seas from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The containers carrieda variety of cargo – furniture, thousands of tires, several hundred thousand plastic items, miles of cyclone fencing, hospital beds, wheel chairs, recycled cardboard and clothing items. A US Coast Guard report revealed the containers were inappropriately loaded on board the vessel – there were faulty welds on anchor points for the containers, as well as missing d-rings from the deck of the vessel. Continue reading »

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Another One Bites The Dust – Again

 MARPOL, oil pollution  Comments Off on Another One Bites The Dust – Again
May 032010
 

image A federal grand jury in Corpus Christi, Texas, returned an indictment today charging Fleet Management Limited with obstruction of agency proceedings, making false statements and failing to keep accurate pollution control records, the Justice Department announced today.

Fleet Management Limited of Hong Kong is charged with one count of failing to maintain an accurate oil record book as required by the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, APPS, a US law which implements the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, commonly known as “MARPOL;” one count of making false statements to the US Coast Guard; and one count of obstruction. If convicted of all counts, the company may be punished with a fine of up to $3 million.

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Two Chief Engineers Indicted for Environmental Crimes

 arrest, news, oil, oil pollution  Comments Off on Two Chief Engineers Indicted for Environmental Crimes
Aug 242009
 

WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury in Houston has returned an indictment charging two crewmembers of the oil tanker Georgios M with making false statements, violating federal law designed to prevent pollution from ships and obstruction of justice, the Justice Department announced.

According to the indictment, Ioannis Mylonakis and Argyrios Argyropoulos, served as Chief Engineers aboard the oil tanker Georgios M and each have been charged with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), making material false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard and obstruction of justice.

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Cosco Busan Trial, Testing The Waters?

 accident reporting, containership, oil spill, Pollution  Comments Off on Cosco Busan Trial, Testing The Waters?
Aug 042008
 

Hear the pitter-patter of running feet? Could be ship managers running to their lawyer’s office, or ambulance-chasing lawyers running after ship managers, following the indictment of Hong Kong-based Fleet Management by the US Department of Justice. It’s a case that could have far-reaching implications on the industry, as BIMCO’s Watchkeeper has observed.

At this moment, at least outside the more voracious media, Fleet Management, like Captain John Cota who conned the containership Cosco Busan when it made contact with the San Francisco-Oakland bridge, is innocent unless the trial, which starts on 17th November, decides otherwise.

Says the DOJ: “Fleet Management, the company responsible for operating the Cosco Busan, was charged today with six felony counts for making false statements and obstruction of justice. According to the indictment, Fleet Management, acting through senior ship officers and shore-based supervisory officials, concealed and covered-up documents with an intent to impede, obstruct and influence the investigation of the spill. The falsified documents include a fictitious passage plan for Nov. 7, 2007, the day of the crash, as well as two prior voyages made after Fleet assumed management of the vessel in October 2007. Fleet’s safety procedures, required by US law, mandated berth-to-berth passage plans for each voyage. However, according to the indictment, Fleet created falsified plans after the crash and concealed and covered up the real ship records.”

At time of writing, the ship’s officers themselves have not be charged, although six of them remain in detention in Los Angeles, where they have been since the incident last November as ‘material witnesses’.

It would be improper to comment on this specific case until after the trial but the allegations seem to be a breach in the wall of that established legal principle by which the Master takes the fall, prehaps a recognition that, in the 21st century, the concept of the master being the sole authority holds less and less water.

In the days before radio, satellite communications and the internet there was no reasonable alternative to the principle of “Master only under God”. A master could not refer decisions upwards to management. Today, management is aboard ship electronically, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the master has about the same authority as a truck driver whilst holding far greater responsibility.

The trial of John Cota and Fleet Management will deserve close coverage. Under the microscope, it seems, will be the relationship between pilot and master and the relatiuonship between master and company management. Buy your tickets early.

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