Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reports that the master of a ship
has been convicted after failing to report without delay a main engine
breakdown off Queensland, Australia that affected the safety, operation and
seaworthiness of his ship.
incident that led to this conviction dates back to Thursday, January 31, 2019
when the Marshall Islands flagged tanker Asphalt Spirit, operated
by Interorient Shipmanagement (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., was en route from Korea to
Australia carrying 14,000 tonnes of asphalt.
Ship suffered a main engine breakdown at
4 pm local time but ship’s master reported six hours late
suffered a main engine breakdown at 4 pm local time and began drifting 30 km
northeast of Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island. The ship’s master
reported the incident via email to AMSA just after 10 pm that night – six hours
after the initial breakdown.
that modeling predicted the possibility of the ship running aground at the
southern end of the island within the next 17 hours if it continued to drift
making arrangements to intervene with an emergency tug from Brisbane.
Master confirmed to AMSA engine damage
could not be repaired at sea
master responded to AMSA at 1.30 am on Friday, February 1, and confirmed the
engine damage could not be repaired at sea. Following discussions with
technical experts, the Asphalt Spirit’s insurer UK P&I Club entered into
its own commercial arrangement with Svitzer which sent its tug Clontarf to
intervene. Clontarf arrived later that day, securing the Asphalt
Spirit and towing her to Brisbane.
On Monday, December 9, 2019 the master
pleaded guilty; fined AUD 3,000
December 9, 2019 the master pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to
one count of failing to report a marine incident to authorities without delay,
as required by section 11(1) of the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of
Pollution from Ships) Act 1983.
fined AUD 3,000 and a conviction was recorded.
Executive Officer Mick Kinley said the conviction sent a clear message to the
maritime industry that failure to comply with critical reporting requirements
had serious consequences.
responsibility to report a marine incident to authorities without delay and the
consequences for failing to do so, ultimately rests on the shoulders of the
ship’s master,” Mr Kinley said.
reporting requirements in the maritime industry for a reason. Authorities need
to know if you are in trouble so they can provide assistance where possible to
resolve the problem before it leads to a catastrophe.
Without intervention Asphalt Spirit
could have been an environmental disaster says AMSA CEO
intervention, the incident with the Asphalt Spirit could have been an
environmental disaster. It goes without saying that the reluctance from the
master and company management to report the incident to AMSA with the urgency
that it warranted, is completely unacceptable.“Failure to report a marine
incident without delay places the safety of your ship and crew, as well as our
precious marine environment, at further risk and it could result in a
conviction that will follow you for the rest of your career.
We will always support responsible
operators who report incidents
Australian coastline is huge and assets such as tugs may take time to arrange.
We understand that ships can break down from time to time and we will always
support responsible operators who report these incidents and who are taking the
necessary steps to undertake repairs or arrange a tow.
tracking technology today means we will know exactly when a ship stopped one
way or another and we will ask questions if it is not reported.”