Jan 132010
 

image Last summer the almost 30-year old, Georgian-registered MV Aspet limped into the French port of St. Nazaire with flooding in her hold. The shipowner couldn’t be bothered to pay for repairs, which isn’t surprising because the crew hadn’t been paid for months. The ship remains in drydock in detention.

Norton Maritime Corporation owns Aspet, the ship manager is BAF Denizcilik Ve Ticaret Ltd, who share offices in Istanbul. No strangers to detention: In mid-2009 the vessel spent 115 days in detention at Hull following 57 deficiences,  in the UK, just before being detained in St. Nazaire,  four days in Rostov in 2008 for 13 deficiencies and, in 2007, 132 days detention for  23 deficiencies in Thessalonika.

image It’s just as well the ship made it into St. Nazaire because had she been lost at sea it’s doubtful that her crew would have survived the lifeboats, as these photographs, courtesy of the Apostolship Of The Sea and sent to us by Yann Chauty of Ceps-Survie, the French non-profit maritime training association, who saw conditions on the vessel himself.

Says Yann: “I was very surprised by the portside lifeboat” as well he might have been. imageThe portside lifeboat is open, there are no covers. It is made of metal, as is the starboard enclosed lifeboat, not GRP. Its original engine, probably an air-cooled Lister, has been replaced with a water-cooled engine and holes drilled in the hull to take the exhaust and the cooling water inlet.

There was, and probably still is, a pool of petrol and water almost knee-deep in the bottom of the lifeboat.

imageUnder a rowing bench, and otherwise unprotected from the elements, are the batteries needed for the electrical starter for the engine.

“What a pity to see such a ship’s crew to have such an open lifeboat !!!” says Yann. MAC agrees.

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