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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Not sailing-related, but I don't like this trend..
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Thread: Not sailing-related, but I don't like this trend.. Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-28-2008 02:16 PM
nolatom The latest, from an industry publication (the second story, about the HEBEI SPIRIT, I didn't know how to delete the other stuff).

I'm not one to jump to conclusions (usually), but prosecution of the tanker Master and Mate, who were struck at anchor, smells awful to me:








MARITIME GLOBAL NET NEWSLETTER

LATEST HEADLINES
28 January 2008


Total to appeal Erika verdict
Hebei Spirit trial begins
Panama Canal charges go up
Cambodian cargo ship missing
Bayport bidding gets go-ahead
Braemar's improved outlook
Hamburg Süd boosts N Continent-Med service
UK tonnage tax changes warning
ITF talks to Irish government over open registries
Golden Ocean's lucrative charter
Shippers' cautious welcome for surcharge suspension
BP says goodbye to Cyprus
North of England stays an “A”
Lloyd's vs Lloyds: court battle looms
Poor Q4 for Euronav
Golden Ocean fixes kamsarmax duo
ESPO welcomes Brussels' plans
Bonny River attack
Hebei Spirit charges
FEFC lifts UK congestion charge
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Total to appeal Erika verdict


FRENCH oil company Total said on Friday that it plans to appeal against its conviction for negligence relating to the loss of the tanker Erika and the subsequent pollution of France's coast. But it says it will nevertheless pay out the euros192m compensation to local businesses that it was part of the court's ruling.
Total, which claims the verdict was “unfair counter to the intended aim of enhancing maritime transportation safety” says it will ensure that payments are made immediately and are full and final, whatever the result of the appeal to “any of the third-parties who are willing to accept it”.
Meanwhile environmental campaigning group Greenpeace says it will launch its own appeal to the courts to push up the compensation Total must pay. Complaining that Total was trying to limit the full legal consequences of recent verdict against it, Greenpeace says that it will “take advantage of this appeal to make [Total] put the right value on the damages it caused.”
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Hebei Spirit trial begins


THE trial in South Korea of five men accused of negligence and violating anti-pollution laws in connection with the Hebei Spirit collision and spill in December started on Friday, to a chorus of disapproval from the international shipping community. The five include the master and mate of the VLCC which was at anchor when a barge carrying a large crane hit its side and ruptured several tanks causing a a spill of about 10,000 tonnes of crude oil. The Hong Kong-registered ship is managed by V.Ships which says the two Indian nationals should be praised rather than blamed as they alerted the authorities to the danger and did all they could. Speaking at press conference in Hong Kong last week V. Ships Shipmanagement's chief executive officer Bob Bishop pointed at that the master could not have heaved up the anchor in time. The managing director of the Hong Kong ship owners' association, Arthur Bowring, was also reported as objecting to the trial of the two officers, both Indian nationals who, while not in custody, have not been allowed to leave Korea. He was quoted as saying: "We are very disappointed with any maritime authorities who indict crew members who have been involved in an accident. It's not following basic human rights, it's not following the general course of legal issues."
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01-22-2008 07:42 PM
sailaway21 On most ships it probably would take a minimum of thirty minutes, maybe a little less if everything fell right, to START heaving anchor. In all out panic mode, 15 minutes to start. How long do you think it takes to heave in 7 or 8 shots of chain? A shot is 90 feet of chain and I'm guessing it takes about 3-4 minutes per shot, I never really timed it.

The more likely response might be to veer the anchor chain or manoeuver with the engine. Relistically, if no maintenance was being done to the engine, 15 minutes to be manoeuvering.

I carried a million dollar policy on my USCG license for a few hundred a year cost. If figured it would cover the cost of the Philadelphia lawyers, but not any liability.

It's about the same here in the US. Most of the first responders to a scene do not have the expertise to determine even what happened, let alone assign blame, so they just breathalyze everyone, and throw anyone who's been drinking in jail. Doesn't matter if they arrest the cook or not, except nobody's getting breakfast after working all night. They're usually busy doing this while the ship is still taking on water. Much, much later the pros arrive to figure out what to do and who's to blame.

Different countries do indeed have different laws and traditions. Had the accident happened in Turkey, it's highly likely that the Master would have been incarcerated immediately and held until all was resolved. And that could take years. (and guess what? your State Dept. isn't getting him out!) I had a fellow in my union go through it in Turkey; spent over a year and a half in the slammer. Had to sign an affidavit he'd return for the trial, his trial, when it came to the court. Now he lives in fear of his plane or ship having to enter Turkish space in an emergency. The US won't extradite him due to the nature of the "crime" and Turkey's not asking anyways. Somebody got a big chunk of money, we suspect, and that's how he got out. Needless to say, he's never going back. Could be worse. Could have happened in Rio! Ouch! That'd hurt.
01-22-2008 06:17 PM
nolatom I don't know, but with a direct-drive diesel, you either have the engine (and prop) turning, or you don't, and there's a minimum forward speed, you can't just "idle" as I understand it. So I don't know if running dead slow ahead would've helped or hurt, if the anchor was already holding all right. It might have increased yawing if it put slack in the chain(s).

I'll defer to others with bigger licenses, but to requote something I heard long ago, "When there's a casualty at sea, there are many wise men on shore". I'm just wary of the tendency of this "wisdom" resulting in hasty criminal charges.
01-22-2008 05:07 PM
Valiente I'm aware that it would likely take some time to bring vast diesel engines online in a tanker, but would the usual procedure in a storm be to have them on to power pumps or to ride up to the anchor if things got squirrelly?

I'm asking because I don't know. For me, having a warm engine idling at anchor would be an easy decision once it got past 30 knots no matter how well I was anchored, because I can neither count on others not coming loose, or simple failure of my rode or the rodes of others, or I might need to "pluck and run" or simply to zoom forward to avoid debris.

I can't imagine that an exponentially larger vessel with cargo aboard and more windage, in conditions that tugs wouldn't be able to maneuver easily, might keep the motors fired up just in case they needed to get underway, or simply to reduce the strain on the main anchor by motoring at low speed toward it.

Am I wrong here? I'm not trying to second-guess the tanker skipper, but I don't know under what circumstances of "storm anchoring" you wouldn't consider being one command away from having a moving prop.
01-22-2008 03:20 PM
nolatom North Korea, sure. Expect irrationality.

But South Korea is a major maritime shipbuilder (Hyundai and others), trader, flag state and supplier of crews to ships of all nations. They should react more objectively.

This "criminal charges first, questions later" worldwide is a bad thing for the merchant marine. Who wants take that kind of risk?
01-22-2008 03:08 PM
sailingdog Cultural context is very important in looking at a situation like this... looking at it with American or European eyes is not a good idea.
01-22-2008 03:00 PM
hellosailor Come on, Chuckles. These are Koreans, the same people who cut two inches off the chair legs at the Korean War "armistice" talks at the end of the first day, because the damn gwai-jun were all taller than they were, and that was an intolerable insult and loss of face. (All the allied chairs rocked on the second morning, no one could figure out why.)

A State Official says "Move the boat" and the only tolerable answer is "Sir Yes Sir!" whether it is physically impossible or not. If the captain made the mistake of laughing and saying "that's just not possible" then he did, in their terms, commit an egregious crime.
01-22-2008 02:45 PM
chucklesR Dudes,
Barge broke free at 6;52am, 1 to 2 miles away from the tanker, but hit the tanker at 7:06am and they say he had time to move????
14 minutes from loose to hit - no telling how long it took for the tugs or the anchor watch to figure it would hit him - so be reasonable and say five or ten minutes notice.
Not unless he was already manned up, engines running, and anchor watch set he didn't - How long does it take us to get underway on our itty bitty boats?
this won't stand any review at all.
01-22-2008 02:44 PM
hellosailor Bear in mind this is also Korea. North or South, it is still a very different place from the US. The authorities might lose face if they DIDN'T arrest everyone, and over there "face" counts way more than whether you are right or wrong. Especially if you represent the State.
01-22-2008 02:18 PM
nolatom Yes, if I anchored where I shouldn't have, I agree. But info I've heard (and I'll wait for the final word) is that the anchored position was legal, they were asked if they could move out of the way of this drifting barge, and couldn't:

http://joongangdaily.joins.com/artic...sp?aid=2884189

Yeah, let's wait and see, but if they think this ship could've got underway or shifted position (in 14 minutes according to the above) during a storm so as to make this drifting barge miss this large ship, pleeeease give me a break. The pressure is on local authorities to throw the book at everyone whenever there's a spill.

Now South Korea is taking steps to ban single-skin tankers (which are being phased out anyway) from their waters. One would not expect them to place any blame on themselves.

Again, let's let it play out, but my view going in is that this is a heck of a way to end up with a criminal charge.
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