May 012009

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Search crew find missing oilman’s body
Upstream Online – Oslo,Oslo,Norway
It is believed Lindsay, who was not wearing survival gear, was carrying out routine checks on the
oil platform when he vanished sometime between midnight

Skipper dies after trawler sinks
Fish Update – Edinburgh,UK
THE Norwegian authorities are preparing to hold an investigation into the
sinking of a relatively modern Russian fishing vessel off their northern coastline

Sailor dies while working on ship’s drains
Stars and Stripes – Washington,DC,USA
By Erik Slavin, Stars and Stripes A sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis died Friday after being crushed while working on the
ship’s .

Authorities: Man injured when canister explodes – Miami,FL,USA
Authorities say a cruise
ship passenger was injured when a canister exploded, in one of two separate incidents at Port Everglades.

Murphys injured in car crash
Cape Cod Times – Hyannis,MA,USA
He had no other details of the
accident. Murphy, a 2001 graduate of Massachusetts Maritime Academy, was supposed to be honored at this morning’s formation

Replica Chinese junk sinks one day from end of epic journey – United Kingdom
Despite the
sinking, Mr Peng of the Chinese Maritime Development Society, said he believed the ship had “accomplished its mission”.

Trade vessel sinks at St. Kitts port – Basseterre,St. Kitts and Nevis
SKNVibes spoke to Winston Hendrickson, Manager of the TDC Shipping Department, who said that he could not speak to a specific cause for the
accident at this

Teenage boy survives fatal boat accident by using his dead
Daily Mail – UK
Mr Che Hassan, southern regional commander of Malaysia’s
Maritime Enforcement Agency, said: ‘We are still trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle,

Helicopters grounded after two crashes in space of weeks
The Edinburgh Journal – Edinburgh,Scotland,UK
The ill-fated helicopter was carrying two crew members and fourteen
oil workers from a BP offshore oil rig. The most recent incident report from the Air

Oil & Gas UK Comments on AAIB Report into Helicopter
Apr 13, 2009 Oil & Gas UK Comments on AAIB Report into Helicopter Accident

Owner of Korean Commercial Cargo Vessel & Chief Engineer Plead Guilty to Marine Pollution Related Charges

WASHINGTON—STX Pan Ocean Co. Ltd. (STX), headquartered in Seoul, Korea, and the owner of the commercial cargo ship, M/V Ocean Jade, pleaded guilty to conspiracy as well as falsifying and failing to properly maintain records meant to ensure compliance with maritime pollution laws, the Justice Department announced. The chief engineer

Wrecked vessel’s crew wants investigation into sea strike
Honolulu Star-Bulletin – Honolulu,HI,USA
Stewart said that about 15 minutes before the
collision, the crew on watch noticed the freighter change direction and head toward the TaiPing.

Genco Shipping & Trading Limited Announces First Quarter 2009
PR Newswire (press release) – New York,NY,USA
As previously announced, the Genco Cavalier, a 2008-built Supramax
vessel, was involved in a minor collision caused by another vessel in its vicinity during

Survivors and crew of sunken BC ferry still seeking compensation – Toronto,Ontario,Canada
(CBC) A BC Ferries worker who barely escaped the
sinking Queen of the North ferry says that after three years of struggling with mental and physical

Selendang Ayu Settlement
Alaska’s SuperStation – AK,USA
Four years ago the
ship became grounded and broke apart off of Unalaska Island. IMC Shipping, out of Singapore, has paid the state nearly 845-thousand

Brazil: a growing poaching presence (Registro) – Tokyo,Argentina
Incidents involving gun firings and even a
collision attempt directed by a Brazilian ship against a Uruguayan military ship have gone beyond the occasional


JTF Kills 6 Militants, Frees Hijacked Vessel
THISDAY – Apapa,Lagos,Nigeria
He said they returned
fire, drowning six of the militants suspected to be members of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF) in the process,

Walk the plank? No, gun the skiff

THE CREW of the box ship Boularibank found a novel way to repel Somali pirates, the vessel’s owner said today: tossing large planks of wood at them.

Canada’s release of pirates “nuts,” expert says
Globe and Mail – Canada
Canada is also a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which makes
piracy an international crime, formalizing maritime law that dates back

At former British prison, Somali pirates tell their side
McClatchy Washington Bureau – Washington,DC,USA
Five of those prisoners are serving 15-year terms for
piracy. |

Ship captain: Just arming crews won’t stop piracy
The Associated Press
Armed with knives and
fire hoses, Phillips and his crew of about 20 tried and initially failed to fight off a raid by young pirates armed with automatic

Armed Cruise Ship Security Team Fights Off Somali Pirates – Tampa,FL,USA
and he Israeli security guards opened fire with small arms. The pirates backed off but continued to follow the ship for about 20 minutes firing at it.

New pirate attacks on Italian ship
Ansa news in English – Rome,Rome,Italy
On Wednesday the
ship’s crew fended off another attack 300 miles south-east of Mogadishu after a small boat with seven pirates approached it and opened fire

Maersk to increase its ships’ precautions, but no guns
The Virginian-Pilot – Norfolk,VA,USA
Chalk said Maersk should continue having its ships transit through
maritime corridors where naval ships keep watch. But smaller shipping companies aren’t

Russians detain 29 suspected pirates
United Press International – USA
The would-be hijackers, armed with automatic weapons and grenade launchers, opened
fire on the vessel but were outmaneuvered, a company statement said.

Government studying other measures to protect seamen
Philippine Star – Manila,Philippines
The same circular also gives Filipino
seafarers the option to disembark if he feels any threat passing Somalia. But Roque said not a single seafarer opted

Filipino Seafarers Top Victims of Somali Pirates
Voice of America – USA
“Our experience has been that we have not had any
casualty from among those The International Maritime Bureau says pirate attacks off the Somali coast

Spanish navy arrests pirates
Monsters and – USA
with security personnel returning fire. According to Campain Ciro Pinto, the ship was slightly damaged, but none of the passengers suffered any injures.

Fear Of Ferry Royals

 accident reporting  Comments Off on Fear Of Ferry Royals
Jul 222008

By coincidence, this week could be dubbed ‘Ferry Cropper Week”. In the Philippines the Board of Marine Inquiry is to release its report on the sinking of the Sulpicio Line’s ferry Princess Of The Stars, which cost more than 700 lives, while the US National Transportation Safety Board is to release its report of the grounding of the sternwheeler Empress of the North.

Since we’re talking of ferries let’s add the Queen of the North report released by Canada’s Transport Safety Board earlier this year.

The Queen of the North grounding and sinking took two years of investigations which included recovery of physical evidence such as computer hard drives from the ship’s bridge and recording of radio traffic, and video from ROV examination of the sunken vessel. The report is backed up by a video simulation of the vessel’s voyage and sinking.

Investigating the Empress of the North grounding has taken a little over a year. It, too, will involve the examination of physical evidence.

The Philippines BMI has taken around one month, has taken statements from some 28 persons, including two seafarers who were travelling on the ferry as passengers, but neither asked for nor secured physical evidence as to how the vessel capsized, took on water and capsized.

There was certainly the opportunity to gather physical and photographic evidence from the Princess of the Stars. Divers went aboard her to photograph the faces of the dead in a misguided attempt to have them identified by relatives seeking their lost. The project was stopped following advice that the photographs would not be useful in identification and would have been disturbing those those trying to discover whether their loved ones were alive or dead.

That photographic equipment could have been put to good use in the cargo hold, where cargo is said to have shifted in the storm and caused the ship to list. They might have been useful in the area of the rear ro-ro ramp.

Divers were taken off the vessel following the discovery of a highly toxic cargo of endosulfan in a container but an examination could have been done using ROVs, which certainly are available in the Philippines.

Much might have been learned by simulating the last voyage of the Princess of the Stars in a bridge simulator, of which there are several in Manila, another in Cebu, and three in Subic Bay. It woiuld have provided a fairly accurate representation of conditions at the time, far more accurate that witness testimony – only witness in the BMI inquiry, for instance, correctly identified the ship’s list as to port, everyone else recalled it as starboard.

An engineering simulation of the forces acting upon the ship, something which might have been done at University of the Philippines, would, too, have told us much about the mechanics of the capsize and sinking.

Given the time the BMI has taken, and the lack of substantive investigation and forensic techniques, sadly it can be little more than a superficial exercise, no matter how well meaning the intent of those comprising the board.

There are very meaningful differences between the BMI and those agencies which investigated the Empress of the North and the Queen of the North incidents. These last incidents were investigated by full time agencies of relative independence, manned by professional, trained, qualified maritime casualty investigators. The Philippines has no such agency.

Determining the underlying, root, cause of an incident and addressing it will save more lives than determining who is at fault.

What is needed is a professionalised agency whose investigation is solely concerned with the safety aspects of an incident, who can interview witnesses without them having the sword of liability hanging over them, and with the capability to gather forensic evidence, and whose reports are publicly available on the internet.

While such an agency’s investigations must, as a matter of safety, take precedence over other investigations its recommendations do not need the force of law, they have the force of public embarrassment – a ferry company that doesn’t implement recommendations made to it will certainly be grist for the media mill.

Liability should be determined solely by the courts with the force of law behind them. Boards of Marine Inquiry, or their equivalent, have largely been abandoned around the world and the Philippines should follow suit.

The BMI’s function of establishing liability would be better replaced by an Admiralty court under the Supreme Court, with specialist judges and attorneys trained in maritime law.

Given the strategic economic and social importance of the domestic shipping industry in the Philippines, it’s difficult to argue against such changes.