AMSA slams bulker salvage delay

AUSTRALIA’S Maritime Safety Authority has accused the owners of stricken bulker Ocean Emperor of failing to take responsibility for the vessel.

AMSA first issued an intervention order on 24 July when the 74,002dwt Panamax, listed as controlled by Oceanfleet of Greece, was drifting without power about 60 n-miles east southeast of Cairns off the Great Barrier Reef.

After several failed efforts by the vessel to resume its voyage from Townsville to Asia with coal, AMSA’s emergency towing vessel Pacific Responder took it in tow on 27 July and held it about 200km offshore, pending the completion of commercial salvage negotiations.

The authority said today commercial arrangements “have finally been entered into by the owners”, with Ocean Emperor to be brought to an anchorage off Cairns tomorrow morning to undertake engine repairs.

“AMSA was required to intervene to prevent a maritime casualty due to the long delays incurred by the company to take responsibility for its ship,” the authority said. “While AMSA understands that ships do suffer engine failure from time to time, the reticence of the Ocean Emperor’s owners to take responsibility for the situation has been very disappointing.

“AMSA will also be investigating any breaches to maritime law incurred by the Ocean Emperor during this incident,” it added.

Source: Safety at Sea International

This incident reminds me of the Amoco Cadiz disaster: delay to request help, reticence on the part of the owners to salvage the ship, disenfranchising of the shipmaster.

At least we learnt something from it…

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