Marine accidents

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 25 April 2008



(2008), "Marine accidents", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 17 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Marine accidents

Article Type: Disaster database From: Disaster Prevention and Management, Volume 17, Issue 2.

28 June 2006 Al Salam Boccaccio 98 (Panama)

A committee investigating the sinking of passenger ro/ro Al Salam Boccaccio 98, which claimed the lives of over 1,000 people, widened the blame for the disaster to include Panama, under whose flag the vessel was sailing. The vessel sank in February while en route to Egypt from Saudi Arabia. Six Egyptians, including the vessel’s owner Mamdouh Ismail, face charges of manslaughter over the disaster. “We must start with shortcomings on the part of the flagging country’s government, because it is responsible for inspecting the rescue equipment and the safety of the vessel,” committee member Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Naby told reporters. Transport Minister Mohamed Mansour said the committee’s job was to identify what made the ferry sink and not to apportion blame. Committee head, Mohamed Abdel Fatah Shamma said the Panamanian delegation had withdrawn from the committee. They had insisted on focusing on the direct causes of the sinking, without examining failings by the various parties, Shamma said. After examining the vessel’s voyage data recorder, recovered from the wreck at a depth of 920 metres, the committee concluded that several factors were to blame. A fire in the garage had spread widely before it was discovered because the attendant was away from his post. Problems with drainage outlets then meant water pumped in to put out the fire flooded the vessel’s starboard side, causing it to list dangerously and eventually sink. The vessel’s master did not order an evacuation when the fire started or when the vessel was listing at a significant angle, the committee said. A parliamentary report on the disaster had blamed Ismail for serious violations of safety regulations. Ismail is thought to be in Britain, the Egyptian authorities say. The vessel was originally licensed in Italy to carry 1,187 people but the owners obtained an Egyptian licence to carry 2,890 people, in violation of international standards, the parliamentary report said. It was carrying 1,400 when it sank.

26 June 2006 Pacific Adventurer (Hong Kong)

Chinese military vessel sank in waters off southern China’s Guangdong Province last Thursday (June 22) after colliding with general cargo Pacific Adventurer (18391 gt, built 1991), local and oversea media reported today. The US-based Boxun news web site reported that 13 of the 63 naval personnel onboard went missing and four others sustained serious injuries after the two vessels collided in the Pearl River near Zhuhai. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, quoting a military news program of China’s state-run CCTV, also confirmed the date of the collision and that 13 naval personnel were missing, but it did not reveal the type of the military vessel. The daily quoted another source as saying a third of the boat was cut off and sank in the sea, killing four people. A Hong Kong Marine Department spokeswoman confirmed the 23,700-ton displacement Pacific Adventurer, which belongs to Swire Group subsidiary China Navigation Co., had collided with a Chinese military patrol boat at the mouth of the Pearl River on June 22, and the Chinese marine authorities had asked to meet with China Navigation. “The cargo ship remains in China for investigation,” the spokeswoman said. “Whether anyone was injured or missing onboard the Chinese boat is still under investigation.” China Navigation spokeswoman Maisie Shunwah said they do not know the cause of the collision, adding all 28 crew members aboard the cargo vessel, which was heading from China to Thailand, were uninjured. China’s Communications Ministry and Guangdong’s Maritime Safety Administration, which oversee the investigation, both declined to confirm casualties or the type of vessel involved.

28 June 2006

At least three separate investigations have been launched into last Thursday’s (June 22) collision between China Navigation’s multi-purpose tween-decker Pacific Adventurer and a Chinese naval vessel in which four military personnel were reported to have been killed with 13 still missing. None of the 26 crew aboard the 1991-built, 25,561 dwt Pacific Adventurer was reported to have been hurt. The Hong Kong-flagged vessel collided with the People’s Liberation Army patrol vessel near Zhuhai in the Pearl River estuary in southern China at 03:51, local time, June 22. Hong Kong’s Marine Department confirmed it had instigated a probe into the incident because the tween-decker was Hong Kong registered. China’s Maritime Safety Administration has also begun an investigation while China Navigation, part of John Swire & Sons in London, has conducted an internal inquiry. Marine Department marine accident investigation chief Leung Hou-kin said an investigator was due to meet MSA officials in Guangzhou and take statements from the crew yesterday and today. He confirmed that the Pacific Adventurer and the crew had been detained near Guangzhou. But Mr Leung added that the Marine Department had been assured by MSA’s Guangzhou regional office and headquarters in Beijing that both the vessel and crew would be released in “one or two days”. Both vessels were plotted on radar by Hong Kong’s vessel traffic centre, but the Marine Department has very little information so far on what happened. Mr Leung said the incident is sensitive because it involved a Chinese naval vessel. Swire Group spokeswoman Maisie Shun Wah said there was slight damage to the tween-decker. The crew, comprising an Australian master, British chief engineer, a Tuvaluan second engineer and 23 Chinese seafarers, “were totally unharmed”. In a statement issued by Swire yesterday, the firm said the master immediately came to the bridge following “a loud noise [that] came from the port quarter”. Ms Shun emphatically denied Chinese television reports that the Pacific Adventurer had been involved in a hit-and-run incident and had left the scene of the collision. She said: “It did nothing of the sort. I want to stress that under international safety guidelines we have to check our own ship to make sure it was undamaged and the crew unhurt.” Swire said the master “after assessing the situation, slowed the ship down and checked his vessel for any casualties and structural damage to the hull, including all tanks”. “Once the ship was found to be in a safe condition with no personnel injuries, he turned the ship around and immediately returned to the site of the incident,” it added. The firm said the master saw the naval vessel had some damage to its bow and bridge and a liferaft had been launched. Marine authorities in Guangzhou were contacted but Swire said officials refused to give details of the vessel or allow the Pacific Adventurer crew to directly communicate with the naval vessel. As there was no information forthcoming from either the naval vessel or the Guangzhou authorities, China Navigation staff in Hong Kong advised the crew to resume the voyage to Sri Racha. But the Guangzhou MSA office asked the vessel to return to Guangzhou three or four hours later to assist in a full investigation. Ms Shun rejected other reports and said the patrol boat “definitely did not sink” after the collision. She was unable to confirm Chinese media stories that four military personnel were killed and another 13 were missing after the collision or that the military vessel had 63 personnel on board. China Navigation managing director Geoff Cundle added: “Unfortunately, we had no knowledge of any casualties on the other ship until the media reports.” “Firstly, we offer our deepest condolences to the families of the crew who died in this accident. As a company, we have a longstanding commercial relationship with China and we have offered our full co-operation to the Chinese authorities in their investigation into this tragic accident.” Media identified the vessel as one of six missile patrol boats China has in its military arsenal, with four based at the naval garrison in Hong Kong. But Mr Leung said: “At the time of the accident the Chinese military vessel was not based in Hong Kong.”

3 July 2006

Chine Navigation’s general cargo Pacific Adventurer and its 26 crew look set to be detained indefinitely following the collision with a Chinese patrol vessel in the Pearl River estuary on June 22. Officials from China’s Maritime Safety Administration in Guangzhou and Beijing had assured investigators from Hong Kong’s Marine Department that the ship and crew would be released last week. But Marine Department marine accident investigation chief Leung Hou-kin said last week that the MSA could now not give a department investigator a release date for the ship and crew. The Marine Department is involved because the vessel was Hong Kong-flagged. The change came after meetings between the investigator and the MSA last week. The Marine Department has taken statements from the crew, which comprised an Australian master, British chief engineer, Tuvaluan second engineer and 23 Chinese seafarers. Mr Leung said that because of the sensitivity of the collision the MSA had been reluctant to agree to the release of any new information. The MSA and Marine Department are carrying out separate investigations, while China Navigation has concluded its own internal probe.

22 June 2006 Queen of the North (Canada)

Investigators are trying to retrieve data from a key piece of navigation gear recovered from the sunken passenger ro/ro Queen of the North. Transportation Safety Board spokesman John Cottreau said the vessel’s electronic chart device was plucked from its bridge by the crew of a mini-sub during a dive last week. He said the device included a computer hard drive, but it was too early to say whether data on the drive would be intact. “We’re working on it at present,” Mr Cottreau said. “I’m very confident in the video data and the still data. I can’t even make a guess as to whether the disc data will lead to recoverable data.” The electronic chart device was identified in a May 11 TSB advisory letter to BC Ferries that said not everyone on the bridge knew how to dim the monitor. Mr Cottreau said the mini-sub also made a complete video and photographic record of the bridge, including documenting the settings on dials and the way switches were thrown.

10 July 2006

Transportation Safety Board Investigators trying to piece together what happened on board passenger ro/ro Queen of the North in the moments leading up to the ferry ploughing full speed into Gil Island have found that, despite being immersed in the cold salt water of Wright Sound, the hard drive from the vessel’s navigational computer has yielded some information about the vessel’s course before it sank. TSB Lead Investigator, Captain Raymond Matthew said they were now working to see exactly how much information they can get from the computer. “But it’s a slow process and we’re just waiting for further information,” he said. The hard drive was recovered from the bridge of the sunken vessel during a submersible dive operation last month.

19 July 2006

A remarkable underwater video released yesterday by BC’s Transportation Safety Board shows images from inside passenger ro/ro Queen of the North during a dive by a remote-controlled submersible last month. The video shows the submersible’s manipulator arms clearing the ferry deck of debris, breaking a bridge window to gain access and taking images of the controls. It also shows the submersible retrieving bridge computerized electronic systems that could shed light on what led to the fatal accident. “It’s real-time video going up a fibre optic cable,” Jim Harris of the Transportation Safety Board explained. The images from inside the vessel were taken during a two-day dive by a submersible called an ROPOS (remotely operated platform for ocean science) operated by a Vancouver Island company, the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility. The submersible retrieved the hard drive from the electronic chart system. Even though the hard drive was in salt water, data was downloaded from it. Also retrieved were the automated identification system unit, the global positioning system receiver and the digital selective calling radio. Analysis of the data retrieved from these components is continuing. “We have all the equipment we wanted to get,” Harris said. The RCMP also used the submersible to check for any sign of the two missing people none was found and BC Ferries used the submersible to look for environmental damage caused by the sinking, he said.

22 June 2006 Surya Makmur Indah

At least 31 people including an Australian and two Americans were missing after ferry Surya Makmur Indah, with 116 people on board, sank in waters off North Sumatra Province in western Indonesia, a local police officer said today. The wreckage of the vessel was found on the island of Bintanak near the town of Sibolga today, the police officer in the province’s Tapanuli Tengah Regency told Kyodo News. “All but 31 have survived the incident,” the officer said. Twelve crew members were among the 116 people. “The ferry left the town of Gunungsitoli on Nias Island at 21:30 yesterday and was on its way to Sibolga when it was probably hit by high waves and strong winds,” the officer said. Indonesia’s navy had pulled 73 survivors from choppy seas, Lieutenant Colonel Jaka Santoso, chief of the Sibolga naval base, said earlier. An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said officials were making inquiries. “We are aware of reports a ferry has sunk between Nias Island and Sibolga,” the spokesman said. “Consular officials from our Jakarta embassy are liaising with local authorities to determine whether any Australians are on board.” Sibolga is about 1,200 km north-west of Jakarta, while Bintanak is six km west of Sibolga. It was not immediately known when the vessel sank but most probably early today. “I received the report about the accident at 08:30 today,” Lt Col Jaka Sentosa, navy base commander in Sibolga, told Kyodo News.

23 June 2006

Rescue vessels picked up 73 people from ferry Surya Makmur Indah, which that sank off Sumatra Island yesterday, but were searching last night for at least 43 missing people, an Indonesian navy spokesman said. The accident occurred about 64 km off the port of Sibolga, on western Sumatra, said Lieutenant Colonel Jaka Sentosa. “The information we have received is that the boat sprang a leak and that the weather was very bad,” he said. He said at least three foreigners were believed to be on the boat, which was heading to the island of Nias, a popular spot for foreign surfers.

23 June 2006

Rescuers plucked a survivor from the sea today close to where ferry Surya Makmur Indah sank, but bad weather and heavy waves hampered their search for about 30 others still missing, a navy spokesman said. The 20-year-old man was the 94th survivor to be rescued from the vessel, which sank yesterday off the western coast of Sumatra island after being swamped by waves, said Lt. Col Jaka Sentosa. A helicopter spotted two people - apparently alive and wearing lifejackets - in the sea, but strong winds and heavy seas prevented its crew from attempting a rescue, Jaka said. Smaller rescue vessels could not leave harbour because of the bad weather, he said. Eleven survivors were rescued by a vessel operated by the World Food Program, a spokesman for the UN agency said. The exact number of people on board Surya Makmur Indah was not known because its manifest was incomplete, but authorities believed they were searching for around 30 others, a figure based on accounts from survivors, Jaka said. Survivors have said most passengers had time to don life jackets before the vessel sank. Earlier reports that three foreigners were on board were incorrect, Jaka said.

24 June 2006

Rescue teams found 12 more passengers yesterday from ferry Surya Makmur Indah, which capsized off North Sumatra, bringing the number of survivors to 94 with at least 39 others still unaccounted for. The vessel, bound for Nias Island from Sibolga port with 133 passengers and crew, sank during a storm late Wednesday night (June 21). Officials confirmed that three US citizens were not on the vessel, despite initial reports. Sibolga Port administrator Frits Agamsyah said the three foreigners left Sibolga for Nias on the similarly named KM Surya Makmur Jaya, which arrived safely on the island on Thursday. Frits believed the actual number of missing was probably much higher. “From our data, many passengers on board the ship did not purchase tickets, making the real number of passengers higher than the listed passengers.” He said it was common practice for passengers to board the ship without tickets, because they knew they could pay a smaller amount when officials did their rounds. Chief of Sibolga Naval Base, Lt. Col. Jaka Santoso, said that based on its data, there were 120 passengers and 13 crew on board the ferry, and 94 survivors were confirmed as of yesterday afternoon. The search yesterday was hampered by bad weather, with smaller vessels forced to return to port. “There was a storm at sea today so it’s hard for the team to find victims due to the high waves. But five big ships have continued the search, and the team has kept on by using a Casa aircraft,” Jaka said. No dead bodies have been found around the hull of the vessel, which was located at a depth of 50 meters underwater.

26 June 2006

Nine people have been confirmed dead and 25 were still missing after the sinking of ferry Surya Makmur Indah last week off Sumatra island’s west coast, a search and rescue official said today. Zaenul Tahar also said that 95 people had been saved since the vessel ran into bad weather and high waves early last Thursday (June 22) and sank. That figure was just one higher than the number as of Friday. Tahar said rough weather had hampered the search for survivors and casualties, but conditions were favorable today. “We found eight bodies just now, early this morning,” Tahar said. “I think they were too long in the sea and suffered from dehydration. It’s hard to identify who they are.” The vessel, which regularly took people to Nias island, sprang a leak before it hit huge waves.

27 June 2006

A rescue team has found 16 bodies in the waters off Sumatera island after ferry Surya Makmur Indah sank last week, a navy commander said today. Lt-Col Jaka Santosa, commander of navy base in Sibolga district of North Sumatera Province, said that some 20 others, who were still missing, were also feared died due to a long stay in the sea. He said the search for the missing would end tomorrow. “We have found 16 bodies. The possibility of those missing being alive is very small,” he said. There were about 120 passengers and 13 crew members on the ferry. Altogether, 94 survivors were confirmed as of last Friday afternoon (June 23).

29 June 2006

Indonesia has called off the search for survivors and bodies from ferry Surya Makmur Indah, that sank off western Sumatra a week ago, a navy officer said today. Nearly 100 passengers were rescued after the ferry sank in bad weather. Officials said 16 people were confirmed dead and around 20 were still missing. Lieutenant-Colonel Jaka Santoso, commander of the Sibolga naval base, told Reuters that the search ended yesterday after efforts, including an aerial hunt, failed to yield survivors or bodies. Precise figures on the missing and presumed dead are often difficult to obtain because manifests do not always list last-minute passengers, while some manage to get aboard without paying.

10 July 2006

The body of another victim of the sinking of ferry Surya Makmur Indah was found in Ilik Islet waters, North Sumatra, over the weekend (July 8-9). A local fisherman found the body, Lt. Col Djaka Santoso, Sibolga Naval Base Commander, said today. Rescuers have so far found a total of 17 bodies from the vessel, which sank in Pulau Mursala and Bintana waters, Central Tapanuli district, North Sumatra, on June 23. A total of 95 survivors were rescued and about 33 others are still missing. “Up to the 17th day after the vessel sank, based on reports from victims’ relatives to the Sibolga naval base, there are still 33 victims who have not been found,” Santoso said. The Sibolga Navy’s search and rescue teams have called off their search for the victims. However, the Sibolga naval base commander called on fishermen or local islanders who find bodies from the sunken vessel to report to his office. Earlier, some of the victims’ families had asked the local administration to salve the wreck. They also asked the SAR team to continue their search for the missing passengers as many of them had not been found.

24 June 2006 Tutuma (Nigeria)

Seven out of the 24 crew members from product tanker Tutuma that exploded during the week are feared dead. Sources said that seven were feared dead when the manifest of the vessel was seen and out of the 24 crew members, 17 were accounted for while seven were missing. Assistant General Manager (AGM) Public Affairs of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Christopher Borha, yesterday said that from investigation carried out by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), it was discovered that the explosion was caused by a problem in the “change over switch that controls the ship to shore”. Although the NPA refused to comment on inquires whether there were any death or injury to crew members, an unconfirmed report said that three persons may have died while two others with critically burns are in a private hospital. A source in the safety department of Obat Petroleum, owners of the vessel said that the corpse of an unidentified male was found floating around the area of the vessel.

30 June 2006 Pontonostos (Cyprus)

It is reported that there was a collision between motor launch Komal 15, carrying labourers and bulker Pontonostos (16,725 gt, built 1990), sailing after discharging pine logs at Kandla port, at Navigational Buoy 12 in the Kandla Creek, at about 20:30, local time, June 29. Due to the impact of the collision about 19 people fell overboard from Komal 15, 12 were rescued, five were reported dead, and two are still missing. The labourers were reportedly working on a dredger located at Navigational Buoy 12. The local MMD, has reportedly detained Pontonostos for investigation and further legal action.

30 June 2006

An inquiry was initiated today by the Marine Mercantile Department (MMD) of the Directorate General of Shipping into a collision between two vessels that took place at the Kandla port yesterday. Several workers on board a vessel got drowned in the mishap. So far, eight bodies have been fished out, search for the remaining is on. The accident occurred yesterday evening in the navigational channel of Kandla port when bulker Pontonostos, allegedly hit anchor handling barge (AHB) (Komal 15), from behind. The boat with 22 workers on board was moving ahead to its company’s dredger engaged in the widening and deepening of the port channel. The barge’s owner Jaisu Shipping Private Limited was awarded Rs 86-crore contract by the Kandla port. “We rescued 11 workers and fished out five bodies yesterday. Another three bodies were fished out today and search is on for the remaining three missing workers with the help of our six small crafts and five fishing boats”, said Pritambhai Kewalramani, director of the dredging company. Kewalramani said that all the workers rescued had been admitted to a private hospital in Gandhidham and were doing well. He said his company had already registered a complaint with the Kandla police against the Cyprus ship. Police have recorded statements of the survivors. The ship has been detained at the port harbour till the inquiry is completed and it will be released after we get clearance from the authority concerned,” H.K. Sibal, deputy conservator, KPT, said. Sibal also said that the incident had not affected shipping activities at his port. “Activities at the port continued last night as the navigational channel, which is a marked path for ships coming to Kandla, had no obstruction of any kind. Things would have been different if the ill-fated barge had sunk and lay at the bottom of the sea. It has been taken away to a safe distance,” he said.

3 July 2006

The dredging company whose barge was involved in a collision with bulker Pontonostos in the navigational channel of Kandla port last Thursday (June 29), filed a petition with the Gujarat High Court seeking the ship’s confiscation today. It has also sought Rs 10 crore in damages, company officials informed. The inquiry for which the ship was detained has been completed but port authorities say they won’t let the ship leave port till they got an all clear from authorities concerned. “We have filed a petition seeking the ship’s confiscation and Rs 10 crore compensation as our work boat was badly damaged in the collision. Out of the 32 workers who were on board, only 13 were rescued. We have managed to recover the bodies of 14 workers till now,” Suresh Kewalramani, owner of Jaisu Shipping Company Limited. Meanwhile, company director Pritam Kewalramani said this afternoon that he had received intimation of the recovery of one more body and was leaving for the site. The company had been engaged by Kandla port for widening and deepening of the port channel. Suresh Kewalramani said the Cyprus flag ship, which was on its return journey, should have stuck to the fixed navigational path in the channel i.e. on the port-side of the channel where there was sufficient draught. “But it went on the starboard side, where the water was shallow. As a result, it hit our barge which was following its designated path,” he added. “The ship’s crew did not come to help our crew thereby violating the international convention of SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea). This constitutes a criminal offence under maritime laws. Considering the seriousness of the accident, the loss of life and the negligence on part of the ship’s master and crew, we have initiated legal proceedings,” he said. But highly placed sources with the Kandla Port Trust (KPT) said that both Pontonostos and the barge were in the middle of the navigational channel midstream when they collided. “The width of the navigational channel is 300 metres, which is marked. At the time of collision, both the vessels were midstream, that is 150 metres away from the port. It was because of the impact of the collision that the barge drifted towards the shallow waters near Satsaida island,” said an official. Meanwhile, the port trust has decided to detain the ship till inquiries are completed. “We will not allow the ship to leave the port till required clearance is obtained from all concerned agencies like the police, the Directorate General of Shipping and the court,” Captain R.K. Chhabra, harbour-master of KPT said. The Mercantile Marine Department of the Directorate General of Shipping has completed its inquiry and its representative Captain Shukla has left Kandla for his Jamnagar office. Sources said that Shukla would submit his report to the DG Shipping, who will pinpoint the responsibility.

5 July 2006

Owners and managers of bulker Pontonostos, which was involved in a collision with anchor handling barge, Kamal XV on the night of June 29 in the navigation channel of Kandla Port, wish to express deep sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of all those who tragically lost their lives and to wish those injured a speedy recovery. While investigations on site are still ongoing, initial reports from those on board and involved in the preliminary investigation suggest that this was a tragic maritime accident exacerbated by the significantly higher freeboard of the Pontonostos in comparison with that of the barge and the fact that another large ship was anchored at a anchorage located in the narrow navigation channel. The radar signal of the barge and the close by anchored vessel may also have appeared as one image on the radar screen on the bridge of Pontonostos. While not confirmed, early reports indicate that Kamal XV may have come in view too late and when there was little likelihood of avoiding a collision. Following the accident, the chief officer immediately ordered that life jackets be thrown into the sea for those who had gone overboard from the barge and issued orders to launch life boats for the rescue operation. Kandla Port Control advised that there were other craft in the vicinity engaged in picking up survivors and further boats would not be necessary. Pontonostos was then instructed to re-anchor in Kandla Creek pending enquiries. Owners of the Pontonostos are committed to assisting the families of those sadly lost and, regardless of fault, are liaising with local authorities with a view to setting up a family assistance centre for relief of hardship at this difficult time. Owners will also be liaising with the owners of the Kamal XV, Jaisu Shipping Company, in the hope that both companies jointly collaborate in setting up the family assistance centre. Both crew and owners of the Pontonostos are co-operating fully with the local authorities and investigation into this unfortunate incident.

18 July 2006

While the Kandla Police had arrested and released three crew members of the bulker Pontonostos, on their getting bail from a Gandhidham court in the barge-ship collision case of June 29 at Kandla, search is on to catch two more persons. They include Indian pilot Bharat Modi, engaged by the port trust to escort the vessel for its safe navigation in the port’s navigational channel, and the tandel (head boat-worker) of the ill-fated barge. “Since our investigation found them mainly responsible for the accident, we initiated action for the arrest of the key personnel of the ship - its master, chief officer, the third officer, an Indian pilot responsible for safe navigation of the ship till Outer Tuna Buoy and a local pilot of the barge involved in the collision. We have not been able to arrest Modi and the tandel of the barge as they could not be traced,” Kandla police station PSI and investigating officer of the case, B L Vavaiya, said. The collision occurred in the evening of June 29 when the foreign flag vessel sailing back home after unloading its cargo at Kandla port hit a barge of a local dredging company from behind. The barge was carrying shift duty staff to the dredger, which was engaged in the deepening and widening of the port channel for bigger vessels. In all 15 workers aboard the barge died while two remained missing. The vessel was then ordered to go back to the port harbour for investigation. But since the owners of the ship gave bank guarantee and left behind three key crew members of the ship for investigation, it was allowed to resume its homeward journey last week. “We had detained the ship, but allowed it to go on getting clearance both from the Kutch Police and the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) of the Directorate General of Shipping,” said Captain H.K. Sibal, deputy conservator of the port trust heading its marine department. Meanwhile, the ill-fated barge of the Jaisu Shipping company has sunk to the bottom after it remained floating for several days after the accident.

30 June 2006 ROCKNES (Antigua & Barbuda)

A Norwegian transport safety lobby group has demanded a full maritime inquiry into the capsize and heavy loss of life of the bulker ROCKNES off Bergen in January 2004. The Skaggerak Foundation, formed in March, 2004, to represent the interests of passengers and crew in all modes of transport, has intervened in the ROCKNES case, which occasioned only a partial investigation by the Norwegian authorities on behalf of the vessel’s flag state Antigua and Barbuda. Eighteen of those aboard the specialist bulk carrier lost their lives when the vessel quickly capsized after striking a rock just outside the channel leading from Bergen, where the vessel had loaded a cargo of stone. After the accident the flag state invited the coastal state, Norway, to undertake a casualty investigation on its behalf. But it became concerned when the Norwegian Maritime Administration was instructed by the Norwegian government to limit its inquiry to a “ship technical investigation”, leaving the flag state to inquire into other circumstances. The flag state later claimed Norway had obstructed and delayed the investigation and alleged that the Norwegians had refused to co-operate in the probe. Antigua and Barbuda’s casualty report focuses on the adequacy of the navigation aids in the channel and the loading condition of the vessel which compromised the vessels stability. Other elements which contributed to the disaster, it says, were pilot error, improper stowage of cargo, incorrect operation of equipment, less than adequate operating procedures and inaccurate charts. The report claims that marking of the leads through the narrow channel were less than adequate, with the margins for safety reduced to one ship’s breadth before the vessel touched the ground. Visibility from the bridge was hampered by a huge structure for the handling of cargo on the foredeck which severely hampered the safe navigation of the vessel. Arne Sagen of the Skaggerak Foundation said the incident revealed a serious loophole in the agreement for accident investigation instituted by the IMO. While the Norwegian government suggests that pending litigation precludes its participation in the investigation the foundation, which also intervenes to reduce accidents and counsels victims, points out that the IMO resolution on casualty investigation makes it clear that criminal or civil investigations “do not necessarily serve the cause of safety and should be separate and independent of other investigations”. The foundation points out: “For the international shipping community it is very sad to see that two prudent maritime nations have failed to comply with the very important international regulations for maritime accident investigations.” Mr Sagen said the Norwegian Institute for Marine Accident Inquiry was in a “transitional phase” as the government developed a National Accident Investigation Board, in which the modern principle of separating the safety investigation from criminal or civil proceedings is to be established. The ROCKNES inquiry, says Mr Sagen, was handled in the older and traditional Norwegian fashion. The Skaggerak Foundation has now called on the Norwegian ministry of justice to appoint a special commission of inquiry or conduct a full maritime investigation.

10 July 2006 Beau Rivage (France)

A French court has issued a warrant for the arrest of the master of roll on roll off Marmara Princess, involved in a fatal accident with trawler Beau Rivage off the French coast five years ago after sentencing him to two years in prison. The appeal court in Rennes followed the plea of the public prosecutor in imposing the prison sentence and banning the master for life from ship command after he had appealed against an earlier suspended two-year prison sentence. Captain Aliman Babeyev, 51, was not in court to hear the judgment and also failed to appear at the appeal hearing in late May. His lawyer said then that he had been detained at sea, although a lawyer representing victims’ families claimed that he had known about the hearing for months, saying his failure to appear showed lack of respect for the court and had shocked the families. Captain Babeyev was accused of causing death accidentally and failure to assist persons in danger after an incident involving Marmara Princess and Beau Rivage, 25 km south-east of Belle Ile, off the southern coast of Brittany, on February 26, 2001. The court heard that the fishing vessel was overturned by the bow wave of Marmara Princess, which was on its way from Hamburg to Turkey with a cargo of used cars. Marmara Princess had come in close to shore to avoid expected bad weather and, according to the prosecutor, had come too close to Beau Rivage, which had priority over it. Captain Babeyev’s defence team argued that the fishing vessel could have been overturned by a natural wave rather than the one cause by Marmara Princess and claimed that the fishing vessel was overloaded and that its drains were blocked. The master was also accused of having failed to assist one of the fishermen on board the Beau Rivage who had remained on the hull of the upturned vessel for up to half an hour after it had capsized. The defence argued that he had raised the alarm and thrown lifebelts to the fishermen but said Marmara Princess’ life-raft could not have reached the fishing vessel against the wind and the current.

6 July 2006 Mariam IV (Panama)

Six seamen perished and 13 were rescued when their Panama-flagged vessel (general cargo Mariam IV) sank in bad weather in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Yemen, the official Yemeni news agency Saba reported today. The vessel, owned by a company in the United Arab Emirates, was carrying 5,000 tonnes of cement from Oman to Tanzania when it went down Wednesday near Yemen’s Socotra island, the agency said. The Yemeni coast guard and vessels from “friendly” countries operating in the area managed to rescue 13 seamen and to retrieve the bodies of six others. Saba said the crew was of different nationalities but did not give a breakdown. Maritime traffic at this time of year is frequently disturbed by waves four to nine metres high off Socotra.

8 July 2006

One more Indian crewman of general cargo Mariam IV, which sank off the Yemeni island of Socotra due to bad weather two days back, has died, bringing the toll in the accident to seven.

19 July 2006 Glory Moon (Panama)

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s satellite-based search and rescue network has helped save 30 members of the crew of stranded bulk cement carrier Glory Moon (16,534 gt, built 1973) which was drifting in Sri Lankan waters after its communications and navigation systems were destroyed in a fire that occurred July 11, India’s space agency said in a statement. ISRO said its geostationary communication satellite INSAT-3A relayed the first distress signals transmitted by the distress beacon that was still functioning on board the Glory Moon. The Indian Mission Control Centre of ISRO detected the distress signals and immediately alerted the Coast Guard for search and rescue operations, it said. “Though the ship was in Sri Lankan waters, it was the initiative shown by INMCC that resulted in the rescue of all the 30 crew members.

13 July 2006

London, 20 July, 20 - The following press release was issued by on July 13, by Belden Shipping Pte, managers of bulk cement carrier Glory Moon: On Wednesday July 12, we were informed by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Chennai, India, that they had received an automatic EPRIB distress alert message from Glory Moon. The relayed position was lat 0017.4N, long 9032.3 W, some 400 nautical west of Sumatra, Indonesia. Since then futile attempts have been made to establish contact with the vessel. Glory Moon has 30 crew members on board and their safety and whereabouts is, of course, our greatest concern. Glory Moon departed from Porbandar anchorage, India, at 14:00 hrs, July 4, on a ballast voyage to Tanjung Priok, Indonesia. ETA was July 15. The last active contact with the ship was on July 11, when the vessel reported its noon position. MRCC Chennai has coordinated a search and the product tanker Arabiyah and container carrier Alianca Singapore searched the area on the evening of July 12, until dark. Other vessels in the vicinity have today been conducting searches. There have so far been no sign of Glory Moon. Neither has oil nor debris been observed in the water. The weather in the area is reportedly normal for the season with good visibility, some choppy seas and winds up to 20-25 knots. Two airplanes will be joining the search; one Hercules operating out of Singapore and one Beechcraft from Sumatra. We are co-operating closely with our protection & indemnity insurers Assuranceforeningen Gard and our hull and machinery insurers Norwegian Hull Club. The Belden group would like to extend their sincere thanks to those who have provided and offered support and assistance so far.

15 July 2006

The following press release was issued on 15 July, by Belden Shipping Pte., Ltd., managers of bulk cement carrier Glory Moon: Following some days of uncertainty, we are now happy to confirm that Glory Moon is underway under own power towards Singapore. The vessel had sustained a fire in the accommodation spreading to the bridge, and as a result thereof had lost her normal means of communication and navigation. General cargo Glory Star arrived alongside Glory Moon this morning and is presently assisting with navigation and communication. To enable safe transit of the Malacca and Singapore Straits we have hired an oceangoing tug to assist on that part of the voyage. The crew on board Glory Moon is in good health, doing well under the circumstances.

20 July 2006

Glory Moon arrived off Singapore earlier today, under tow of salvage tug De Da. Two representatives are currently on board Glory Moon assessing the damages. The vessel will be towed by De Da to Bataan for repairs. No ETD is available as the crew have to be interviewed by the authorities, before the vessel can depart.

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