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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Fleet Pleads Guilty in Cosco Busan Spill

 oil, oil pollution, oil spill  Comments Off on Fleet Pleads Guilty in Cosco Busan Spill
Aug 132009

image WASHINGTON— Fleet Management Ltd., a Hong Kong-based ship management firm, pleaded guilty today to a criminal violation of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 for its role in negligently causing the discharge of more than 50,000 gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay from the Cosco Busan when the vessel struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge in dense fog on Nov. 7, 2007.  Fleet Management also pleaded guilty today to felony obstruction of justice and false statement charges for creating false and forged documents after the crash at the direction of shore-based supervisors with an intent to deceive the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Maritime Safety & Security News – 20 June 2009

 Accident report, fire, grounding  Comments Off on Maritime Safety & Security News – 20 June 2009
Jun 202009

Enough drinking water provided to crew of MV ‘Captain Ali’
Indopia – India
Chennai , Jun 20 Amid reports that the crew had no fresh water on board a vessel carrying relief material for displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka

Intense fire breaks out on Coast Guard ship
TheDigitel – Charleston,SC,USA
While dry-docked in Charleston for millions in repairs, an isolated but intense fire broke out on the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin around 11 am on Friday

Royal Princess Cruises Cancelled Due to Engine Room Fire
Cruise Critic – Pennington,NJ,USA
According to the latest statement from Princess Cruises, a fire that broke out in the ship’s engine room on Thursday has caused enough damage that Royal

CBS 5 – San Francisco,CA,USA
Fleet Management Ltd. was the ship operator, in charge of training and supervising the crew, when the Cosco Busan hit a fender of the Bay Bridge


Commandos on French warship turn over 11 pirate prisoners for
Washington Examiner – Washington,DC,USA
France has traditionally been aggressive in fighting piracy. This was its ninth military operation against suspected pirates.

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.