The owner and operator, as well as Senior Officers, of oil tanker Ocean Princess have been convicted and sentenced for various pollution, recordkeeping, and obstruction of justice crimes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Namely, Ionian Shipping & Trading Corp, Lily Shipping Ltd, as well as Stamatios Alekidis, Athanasios Pittas and Rey Espulgar used fuel that exceeded the maximum allowable sulfur concentration in the U.S. Caribbean Emission Control Area and attempted to deceive U.S. Coast Guard inspectors about the source of the fuel being used aboard the vessel.
Namely, the tanker was engaged in transporting petroleum products throughout the Caribbean including from Limetree Terminals, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
While vessels are operating within the U.S. Caribbean ECA, they must not use fuel that exceeds 0.10% sulfur by weight in order to help protect air quality.
Between January 3, 2017, and July 10, 2018, the tanker Ocean Princess entered into, and operated within, the U.S. Caribbean ECA using fuel that contained excessive sulfur on twenty-six separate occasions.
Between March 2, 2016, and February 6, 2018, nineteen separate fictitious Bunker Delivery Notes were created on and kept aboard the vessel.
USCG inspectors boarded the tanker on July 10, 2018, to conduct an inspection. During the inspection, the inspectors discovered that the vessel was using fuel with an excessive sulfur content.
The companies will each pay a fine of USD 1.5 million, be placed on four years of probation, and implement an Environmental Compliance Plan. The Master, Chief Officer and Chief Engineer were sentenced to three years of probation and ordered not to return to the United States on a ship during that time. The Chief Officer was also fined USD 3,000.
The British Ports Association and Dutch Port of Rotterdam have launched a joint smart ports paper as they aim to explore opportunities offered by port digitalization.
In the paper, the two sides outlined steps necessary to create more efficient processes in and between ports.
What is more, the paper noted that not all traditional ports would be able to survive this digital disruption.
“Just as with retail, the travel sector and the world of banking and insurance, digital platforms are set to dominate the supply chain in the logistics sector as well,” it was said.
“For ports, the challenge is to determine their digital strategy so they can preserve and strengthen their competitive position in relation to more digital ports and other transport resources.”
Both sides stressed that the development of a global network of connected ports around the world is the key element in the digital transition.
The paper also introduced a “digital maturity model” showing how ports can gradually develop into smart ports. The model outlines four maturity levels in the step by step process to become a digital port.
As explained, the first step is the digitization of individual parties in the port, followed by the integration of systems in a port community. The third phase would integrate the logistics chain with the hinterland before ports are connected in the global logistics chain in the final step.
“This paper sets out some of the benefits of smart operations and how ports can benefit. Ports of all sizes face similar challenges in adapting to new technologies and developments in the industries we serve,” Richard Ballantyne, BPA Chief Executive, commented.
“Smart port operations will give ports the edge in becoming greener and ultimately, more efficient in serving the wide range of industries we support.”
A catastrophic structural failure of the ship’s hull was the likely cause for the loss of the very large ore carrier (VLOC) Stellar Daisy, that sank on March 31, 2017, according to a report by the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
The hull failure probably began in No 2 Port Water Ballast Tank (WBT) of the 266,141 dwt vessel, owned by Polaris Shipping and converted from a very large crude carrier in 2008 under the supervision of the Korean Register.
Findings of the report indicate that the structural failure was most likely a result of a combination of factors, including the strength of the ship’s structure being compromised over time due to material fatigue, corrosion, unidentified structural defects, multi-port loading and the forces imposed on the hull as a result of conditions Stellar Daisy encountered between March 29 – 31, 2017.
KR noted that it agrees with most of the findings, including that the fatigue cracking was probably undetectable by visual inspection prior to the sinking, but added that there are areas areas of the report that are directed specifically at KR which require further explanation.
The report states that KR’s review and approval of the conversion design was based on the assumption that all of the scantlings, including those from when the ship was constructed as a VLCC in 1993, were as original and did not take into account material fatigue. The basis for this assumption was that the Finite Element Analysis (FEA), which was conducted in accordance with the requirements of the KR Rules for Steel Ships, took into consideration allowable stress, corrosion, and stresses due to local notch effect.
KR commented that the report correctly states that the FEA and fatigue strength assessment took into consideration allowable stress, corrosion, and stresses due to local notch effect. This is common practice for many IACS classification societies. An independent review conducted by BSR (Bruce S. Rosenblatt & Associates) – the third-party hired by RMI to technically review the conversion process – confirmed that KR’s structural analysis was conducted properly.
The findings show that although KR did conduct a failure analysis of the damage to the transverse bulkhead at frame No. 65, it did not conduct a failure analysis after an extensive number of cracks were identified and repaired when the ship was in drydock in 2011, within two years after the conversion was completed. As a result, potential weaknesses with design details were not identified. This is an indication that KR’s monitoring and assessment of the ship’s structural integrity was not as effective as it might have been.
The register explained that a failure analysis is carried out at the discretion of the attending surveyor when, in their assessment, a defect or damage is “out of the ordinary” and further scrutiny is required. The RMI report correctly states that a failure analysis of the damage to the transverse bulkhead at frame No. 65 was conducted as it was determined by the attending surveyor to be “out of the ordinary” and similar damage was not found in other parts of the ship. However, the cracks/defects identified and repaired at the time of drydocking in 2011 were determined to be those typically found on board ships of a similar age. Based on this observation, the attending surveyor determined that the cracks/defects were not “out of the ordinary” and as long as proper repairs were performed, a failure analysis was not needed.
Reporting to flag Administration
The report states that the 2016 RO Agreement between the administrator and register requires that KR immediately inform the administrator of “any dangerous occurrences, accidents, machinery or structural breakdowns, or failures that they are aware of on a vessel.” KR did not inform the administrator of the damage to frame No. 65 in 2016.
KR responded that, as stated in the casualty investigation report, a failure analysis was carried out to assess the structural integrity of damage to the transverse bulkhead at frame No. 65, the result of which showed that there was no area of concern and proper repairs were undertaken to renew the damaged part to its original condition. KR also examined the surrounding bulkheads of Stellar Daisy as well as bulkheads on 29 other converted VLOCs to determine if there were any similar defects, concluding that there were no areas of concern. As a thorough inspection and comprehensive repairs were undertaken and KR determined that there was no “dangerous” structural issue that warranted reporting to the flag Administration.
However, mindful of the recommendations in the report, the Korean Register said it plans to review its reporting procedures to avoid any future misunderstandings.
The 1993-built vessel sank in the South Atlantic Ocean while transporting 260,000 tons of iron ore from Brazil to China. Twenty-two of the 24 crew, that include eight South Korean and 14 Filipino seafarers, went missing from the converted ore carrier.
Seabed survey and ocean exploration company Ocean Infinity deployed its search ship, Seabed Constructor, to look for the ill-fated Stellar Daisy on February 8 under a USD 4.3 million contract. Only days after starting the search efforts, Seabed Constructor located the wreck some 1,800 nautical miles west of Cape Town at a depth of 3,461 meter and managed to retrieve its voyage data recorder (VDR).
On February 20, the search teams deployed at the wreckage site found bones believed to be from at least one of the missing crew members some 1 km away from the wreck, Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries reported.
The search vessel left the site on February 23 headed to Montevideo without recovering the remains, according to the International Stellar Daisy Network.
Pollution fines for vessels in Turkish waters have significantly increased, marine insurer West of England said.
Although pollution fines have been subject to a regular annual increase for a number of years, very significant increases have been levied in the latest round which entered into force in December 2018.
In addition, fines against persons and legal entities have been separated with the rates for fines against legal entities now between three and fourteen times higher than previously, depending on type of vessels and pollutant.
Since vessels are invariably owned by legal entities, a member is likely to attract the higher rates of fine.
In the event of a vessel being fined and detained for an alleged pollution incident in Turkish waters, the local P&I correspondent should be contacted immediately for assistance, the marine insurer advised.
As explained, the authorities do not need to substantiate their allegations and it is up to the vessel to prove otherwise, making pollution fines in Turkey very difficult to challenge.
Due to those difficulties, vessels should implement suitable measures to minimize the possibility of fines being imposed, according to West of England.
Pollution fines can in Turkey can be issued by the Turkish EPA or port and harbor master.
German shipping company, MST Mineralien Schiffahrt Spedition und Transport GmbH (MST), was sentenced and ordered to pay a USD 3.2 million criminal fine due to hiding oil pollution.
According to the US Department of Justice, the company pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Portland, Maine, for obstruction of justice and maintaining false official records to conceal deliberate pollution from its ship the M/V Marguerita.
Namely, the company used falsified log books to hide intentional discharges of oily bilge waste occurring over a nine-month period during which the ship regularly made port calls in Portland, Maine.
According to documents filed in court, MST discharged oily bilge waste from the Marguerita through the use of a so-called “magic pipe” that bypasses required pollution prevention equipment.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, the company was ordered to pay a USD 3.2 million fine and serve a four-year term of probation during which vessels operated by the company will be required to implement an environmental compliance plan, including inspections by an independent auditor.
MST, a vessel operator based in Bavaria, Germany, was convicted of similar environmental crimes in the District of Minnesota in 2016. That federal case involved the falsification of the oil record book for the M/V Cornelia, which concealed deliberate discharges of oil-contaminated bilge waste, including discharges into the Great Lakes. MST was on probation in the District of Minnesota when it committed the crimes charged in Maine.
Captain of the Russian oil tanker Tecoil Polaris was fined over GBP 25,700 (USD 34,300) for breaching the International Safety Management (ISM) Code.
Vitaliy Trofimov, Captain of the 85-meter-long tanker, pleaded guilty to serious non-compliance of safety requirements which placed the vessel – to be loaded with 1,665 tonnes of lubrication oil – at risk.
In a prosecution brought by the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), on June 14, 2018, the Captain was fined GBP 1,400 and ordered to pay GBP 24,361 in costs.
The 2,821 dwt vessel arrived at Humber Port on the evening of June 5, 2018 having come from Hamina, Finland. Humber Port Authority reported concerns about the master and crew’s competency as the vessel approached and berthed at Immingham Docks, Humber.
MCA Inspectors inspected the vessel on June 6 and found a catalogue of deficiencies in navigation and safety equipment, together with significant non-compliance with the ISM Code.
These included not having correct navigation charts or voyage plan, incorrect stability calculations, navigation equipment not working and defects with lifesaving equipment. The vessel was subsequently detained and its safety certificate cancelled, according to the MCA.
Upon investigation and questioning by the MCA’s Investigation & Enforcement Unit, Captain Trofimov admitted the failures and deficiencies.
“This was an extremely serious breach of the ISM Code. In this case, the Captain showed complete disregard for the safety of his vessel and crew operating the vessel. The intention was for this vessel to carry 1,665 tons of oil to Finland, which could have had disastrous human and environmental consequences,” Mark Flavell, MCA’s Lead Investigator, said.
The vessel will not be released until the fines and costs have been paid, MCA concluded.
Ship fuel oil reporting requirements and amendments to the regulation for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships have entered into force, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) informed.
Entered into force on March 1, ship fuel oil consumption data reporting requirements are aimed at enhancing the energy efficiency of international shipping. The data collection will begin on January 1, 2019, with data reported to IMO at the end of each calendar year.
As explained, the data collection system is intended to equip IMO with concrete data on fuel oil consumption, which should assist member states in making decisions about any further measures needed to enhance energy efficiency and address greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.
The mandatory requirements were adopted by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in 2016, through amendments to chapter 4 of annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
Under the new Regulation 22A on Collection and reporting of ship fuel oil consumption data, ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above are required to collect consumption data for each type of fuel oil they use, as well as other, additional, specified data including proxies for transport work. These ships account for approximately 85% of CO2 emissions from international shipping.
In addition, on or before December 31, 2018, in the case of a ship of 5,000 gross tonnage and above, the mandatory Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) is to include a description of the methodology for collecting the data and the processes that will be used to report the data to the ship’s flag state.
Amendments to MARPOL Annex V on Prevention of pollution by garbage from ships also entered into force on March 1, 2018. They relate to cargo residues of products which are hazardous to the marine environment (HME) and a new Garbage Record Book format.
In particular, the amendments require the shipper to declare whether or not they are classed as harmful to the marine environment. A new appendix provides criteria for the classification of solid bulk cargoes.
Additionally, the new form of Garbage Record Book is divided into two parts, the one applicable to all ships and another required for ships that carry solid bulk cargoes.
Furthermore, a new category of e-waste has been included into the GRB.
Amendments to update Form B of the Supplement to the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate, in relation to segregated ballast tanks, also entered into force on March 1, 2018
Uruguayan Navy has detained four stowaways that threatened the crew aboard the bulk carrier Friederike.
The four men reportedly boarded the 57,400 dwt bulker while it was in the Nigerian port of Lagos.
In the morning hours of October 21 the authorities received a distress call from the ship’s captain saying that the stowaways mutinied and threatened the crew members during the voyage.
According to AIS data provided by Marine Traffic, the ship was on its way to the port of Recalada in Argentina when the distress call was sent out.
The navy first directed the bulker to an anchorage some 40 km off the coast of Montenegro, Uruguay, to neutralise the situation and return control of the vessel to its captain. The officials later escorted the bulker to the port of Montenegro where the stowaways were detained.
The Supramax bulker, owned by Greek company Technomar Shipping, was held at the country’s anchorage until October 24, when it continued its journey.
Immigration authorities recently boarded a non-Chinese flag ship in Ningbo and conducted an inspection of the crew’s mobile phones, marine insurer West of England P&I informed.
The crew were told to surrender their phones and content from each of the phones was uploaded to the authorities’ laptop for inspection, which was reportedly undertaken as part of the country’s nationwide anti-terrorist campaign.
The search was said to be for videos, files concerning terrorism or any other criminal related activity.
Additionally, the vessel was also advised that the same searches may continue as a routine inspection in the future.
“Although the authorities claimed that they didn’t download any personal information, the situation is somewhat disturbing,” West of England P&I cited the Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA).
The flag state of the ship in question is now considering making a formal protest to the Chinese Government.
West of England P&I said that this incident could be related to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which opened on October 18, adding that “time will tell if the searches continue after that event has completed.”
Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) intends to test an autonomous containership in the Pacific Ocean in 2019.
The ship would sail from Japan to North America with a crew on standby, Hideyuki Ando, a senior general manager at Monohakobi Technology Institute, part of NYK, told Bloomberg.
The boxship, the size of which has not been specified yet, would be remotely controlled.
NYK joins a myriad of companies that have been venturing into autonomous technology for ships.
As disclosed in an interview with World Maritime News, Rolls-Royceenvisages a remotely operated vessel in local waters as the first stage and in operation by 2020.
By 2030, remotely operated ships are expected to become a common sight on the ocean.
According to a report published by insurance company Allianz in 2012, between 75 and 96 percent of marine accidents are a result of human error, equivalent to USD 1.6 billion. This is often as a result of fatigue.
Remotely controlled and autonomous ships are expected to reduce the risk of injury and even death amongst ship’s crews and the potential loss or damage of valuable assets.