SAFETY | Norwegian shipmanager fined in the UK

Originally published in Tradewinds, 2010/09/24

Fraudulent paperwork, out-of-date maps and busting a one-way traffic system have landed a Norwegian shipmanager in hot water with UK authorities.

Th. Jacobsen Management was hit with two fines after entering three guilty pleas in a case which saw its previously-managed 2,568-dwt Sarah (built 1971) involved in “hazardous incidents” with a pair of ships two years ago.

The general cargoship, now named Ranyus, was collared at the port of Shoreham-by-Sea in October 2008 and clamped for three days after 17 deficiencies were found.

UK inspectors’ suspicions were first raised when the elderly ship popped up on radar heading south in the northbound lane of the Sunk Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency wrote in a statement on Friday.

When inspectors clambered onboard at Shoreham they found that, not only were the ship’s charts out of date, but the ones available did not even display the Sunk TSS.

Jacobsen entered a guilty plea to this effect at Folkestone Magistrates Court on Thursday while it also admitted being guilty of “heading south in the northbound lane of the Sunk TSS and having hazardous incidents with two north bound vessels,” the MCA wrote.

“They also pleaded guilty to failing to keep proper records of rest, in that the ships master fraudulently kept false records of his rest periods…regularly recording periods of rest when he was actually on watch.”

The Norwegian former manager got off lightly, however, as it was hit with one fine of £6,000 ($9,429) and costs of £2,500. The amounts were kept low in consideration of the guilty pleas while the court felt that “to impose a higher fine would put the company in financial difficulty and with a risk to persons losing their jobs”.

The ex-Sarah was one of a raft of Norwegian-controlled ships to raise the ire of UK inspectors in October 2008. Rem’s 3,131-gt, 2008-built platform supply vessel (PSV) Rem Mermaid was pulled into Aberdeen and detained for one day with four deficiencies; Solstad Shipping’s 9,095-hp PSV Normand Vester (built 1998) was held in Aberdeen for two days with 16 deficiencies; and Spar Shipping’s 28,200-dwt timber-carrier Spar Opal (built 1984) had 15 deficiencies when it was boarded at Tees Dock.

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