FIRE ON FISHING BOAT LEADS TO COURT APPEARANCE
Defendant: Generic Enterprises and Hooktone Ltd at Southampton Crown Court
Date of Hearing: 7 December 2012
Offence: Charges under the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations 1997 for the owners and managers.
Details: On 7 January 2008 the UK registered fishing vessel Shark sailed from La Corunna in Spain with a crew of 16, mainly Spanish and Portuguese nationals. On 19 January 2008 the Shark suffered a severe accommodation fire while at sea approximately 17 miles to the west of Malin Head. The fire on board the Shark was extensive. It extended to the galley kitchen, and three cabins used by the crew for sleeping, to alleyways in the accommodation section of the boat and the upper parts of the vessel. In two of the sleeping cabins the bunks, bedding, furnishings and lockers were totally consumed by fire. The crew were badly affected by smoke.
A major search and rescue operation, involving UK and Irish Coastguard, helicopters, lifeboats and Irish navy, took place. Fourteen of the crew were evacuated by lifeboat and helicopter from the vessel. The fire was extinguished by members of the Irish Navy. The Shark eventually made it to Killybegs, Republic of Ireland.
After arrival the vessel was inspected by surveyors from the MCA. Several major defects were noted, many of which were noted to have pre-dated the fire and affected the safe operation of the vessel. An investigation by the Enforcement Unit of the MCA was started into the operation of the Shark by its owner, Generic Enterprises Ltd and managers, Hooktone Ltd.
Penalty: Generic Enterprises Ltd was fined £100,000 plus costs of £35,000, Hooktone Ltd was fined £20,000 plus costs of £25,000.
CHARTER ANGLING BOAT SKIPPER FINED £6,500
Defendant: Paul Alexander at Southampton Magistrates’ Court
Date of Hearing: 7 November 2012
Offence: Breach of Rule 10 (b)(i) under the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972, as amended
Details: On 24 March 2012 the vessel Jolly Fisherman was monitored by Dover Coastguard travelling in a North Easterly direction in the South West lane of the Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), contrary to Rule 10(b)(i) of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972. During the vessel’s passage it forced several Merchant vessels to alter course to avoid a collision.
Dover Coastguard made several attempts to contact the Jolly Fisherman with no response. The vessel travelled seventeen miles in the wrong direction in the Dover Strait TSS.
Penalty: Mr Alexander was fined £7500 plus costs of £2254.
MASTER OF SHIP FINED AFTER COLLISION IN DOVER STRAITS
Defendant: Robert Koningstein at Southampton Magistrates’ Court
Date of Hearing: 30 October 2012
Offence: Three offences under the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1974, as amended
Details: The Spring Bok is a 12,113 GT Refrigerated Cargo Ship (Reefer) registered in the Netherlands. On 24 March 2012 she was on passage from Rotterdam to Aruba and was traveling in the South West lane of the Dover Straits Traffic Separation Scheme. A small Liquid Gas Carrier was also heading south west and traveling at 7-8 knots whilst the Spring Bok was transiting at 18-20 knots. At approximately 10:14 UTC the Spring Bok ran into the stern of the Gas carrier. An investigation into the collision was started.
Capt Robert Koningstein was the Officer of the Watch on the Spring Bok. The visibility in the Dover Straits had been poor but had improved to about 2.5 miles off Dungeness. After the visibility had increased he had sent the lookout down. His son and brother-in-law were also on the Bridge, but not in any official capacity. Capt Koningstein admitted that he had seen the Gas Artic some 20 minutes before the collision. However, he had no recollection of seeing it again until it appeared from behind the forward cranes moments before the collision. Damage on both vessels was comparatively light.
A more serious collision was avoided by the actions of the Master of the Gas Artic who saw the approaching Spring Bok and altered course immediately in order to avoid the collision.
Penalty: Mr Koningstein was fined £1500 plus costs of £1000.
UNSAFE VESSEL LANDS OWNER IN COURT
Defendant: Perry Britton at Torquay Magistrates’ Court
Date of Hearing: 24 October 2012
Offence: Breach of S.284 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, allowing the vessel GREITJE to “jump detention” and S.260 for failing to respond to a Direction order.
Details: The former fishing vessel Grietje had arrived in Brixham Harbour in 2005 but plans to convert her into a houseboat came to naught. Her condition deteriorated and the Greitje was detained as dangerously unsafe by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Over the following years new owners came and went but nothing was done to rectify the poor condition of the Greitje. Eventually the vessel was seized by the local harbour authorities and offered for sale. The vessel was bought for £1 by 56-year-old Perry Britton of Somerset Road East, Barry in May 2010. He was advised by the MCA that the Greitje was detained and should not sail for Brixham without clearance.
Over the ensuing months, many reminders about the detention were given by the MCA. The Agency also attempted to engage with Mr Britton about any plans to repair the vessel. Despite all the warnings, etc, on the 2nd June 2011 the Greitje disappeared from its berth in Brixham. As a result of concerns about the condition of the vessel and its fitness to be at sea, a search operation to locate the Greitje was commenced by the Coastguard. It was eventually located off Cornwall heading west. It eventually arrived in Cardiff on the 7th June 2011 where it was re-detained by the MCA. As a result an investigation into the voyage of Greitje was started. Mr Britton failed to respond to any attempt by the MCA to contact him for his version of events surrounding the voyage between Brixham and Cardiff.
Subsequently Mr Britton was served with a Direction Order issued in accordance with the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 requiring him to produce any documentation relating to any alleged sale of the vessel. However he failed to respond.
Penalty: Mr Britton was fined £500 plus costs of £250.
POLISH MASTER SENTENCED FOR COLLISION WITH FERRY
Defendant: Miroslaw Pozniak at Downpatrick Crown Court
Date of Hearing: 31 May 2012
Date of Offence: 7 March 2012
Offence: Breach of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 and the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003.
Details: On 7 March 2012 the merchant ship UNION MOON, registered in the Cook Islands, was outbound from the port of Belfast when he collided with the inbound ferry STENA FERONIA. There were 51 passengers and 47 crew onboard the ferry and six people onboard the cargo ship. Fortunately no one was injured int eh collision, however there was substantial damage to both ships.
The two ships were approaching the fairway buoy which marks the beginning of the main channel into Belfast Harbour. As the UNION MOON passed the Fairway Buoy, she should have altered course to starboard on to an easterly heading, but unexpectedly altered course to port in to the port side of the approaching ferry.
Penalty: Mr Pozniak was given a custodial sentence of 12 months on each of the three counts to run concurrently.
CREWMAN PLEADS GUILTY OF FAILURE TO KEEP A PROPER LOOKOUT
Defendant: Mr David Smith at Kirkwall Sheriff Court
Date of Hearing: 18 January 2012
Date of Offence: 17 March 2011
Offence: Breach of Merchant Shipping (Distress Signals and Prevention of Collisions) Regulations 1996.
Details: On 17 March 2011 the UK registered Fishing Vessel, RELIANT BCK101, grounded on the Sule Skerry to the South West of the Orkney Islands. The vessel was heading home to Buckie after a trip dogged by bad weather and the skipper decided to have one last haul on the way. They sailed from kinlochberview in the early hours of 17 march and the skipper handed over to one of the crew at around 08:30 am once they were clear of Cape Wrath. He went below to have a few hours rest before shooting the gear.
David Smith was not a regular member of the crew, standing in occasionally. He admitted watching the unfolding tale of the tsunami in Japan while not on duty. This meant he was not getting enough sleep and as a consequence he fell asleep for a short period during which time the boat was set onto the small coutcrop of Sule Skerry.
Penalty: Mr Smith was fined a total of £1,600.
RUSSIAN MASTER PROSECUTED FOR GROUNDING ON NORTH UIST AND FAILING BREATH TEST
Defendant: Konstantin Gobulev at Stornoway Sheriff’s Court
Date of Hearing: 28 March 2012
Date of Offence: 22 March 2012
Offence: Breach of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 Section 58 (2)(b)(i) by failing to properly navigate his ship and breach of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 by being over the limit for alcohol.
Details: On 22 March 2012 the master of the Dutch cargo ship ‘Flinterspirit' was arrested and charged with breach of the Railways and Transport Security Act 2003. The master had grounded his vessel on Flodday Mor on the 19 March 2012 and failed a routine breath test two days later.
The ‘Flinterspirit’ was on a voyage from Pori, Finland to Belfast when the vessel grounded on Flodday Mor, North Uist at 10:50pm GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) on the 19 March 2012. The vessel’s time was one hour ahead of GMT and the second mate was due to take over the watch from the master. The second mate felt a judder and rushed up to the bridge; there was no one there. The second mate called the chief mate to the bridge and together they sounded the general alarm. When the master still did not appear the second mate went down to his cabin where he found him in bed.
The chief and second mate contacted the coastguard and carried out an inspection of the ship’s ballast tanks. They discovered that the fore peak tank and the bow thrust compartment were both flooded.
The ship was on a rising tide and the ship’s officer’s de-ballasted number three and number one ballast tanks, at approximately 3:00am on the 20 March the ship floated free. The vessel was brought to Stornoway so divers could carry out an underwater inspection, however bad weather prevented it from being berthed until the 22 March.
Penalty: Captain Gobulev was fined a total of £13,500.
SHIP OWNERS FINED FOR OVERLOADING
Defendant: Katja Schiffahrtsges Gmbh at Southampton Magistrates’ Court
Date of Hearing: 9 February 2012
Date of Offence: 23 November 2010
Offence: Breach of Loadline Regulations.
Details: The vessel was loaded to its marks with rock salt and sailed from Goderich to arrive at the Manchester Ship Canal on the 23rd November 2010. Rock salt was in high demand to treat UK highways at this time. As the vessel entered the River Mersey, the pilot on another passing vessel noticed that the Plimsoll Line and load lines were not visible and the vessel appeared very low in the water. When the vessel arrived in the Queen Elizabeth II Dock it was inspected by MCA Port State Control Officers who found that the load line that marks the safety limit of the vessel was submerged by 39.5 cm.
Penalty: Katja Schiffahrtsges Gmbh was fined £28015 with costs of £5000.