At a hearing today in Newcastle Magistrates Court, the Owners of the UK registered container ship Maersk Patras pleaded guilty to eight charges of failing to provide adequate hours of rest for the crew and one charge of failing to improve the situation.
In September 2009, the MCA conducted an audit on board the Maersk Patras at Bremerhaven. It was noticed that the Captain, Officers and other crew members had not been having the required periods of rest as laid down by international agreements.
The company, A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S of Denmark, were informed of these concerns but failed to correct matters and the breaches of the regulations continued. On the 25th January 2010, the MCA issued the company with an Improvement Notice which required them to rectify the position by the 28th February 2010. They also failed to comply with that notice.
A.P.Moller-Maersk were fined £18,500 plus costs of £4,439.27
Neil Atkinson, Marine Surveyor, Maritime and Coastguard Agency said:
Fatigue is often a significant factor in accidents, whether it is to individuals or to the ship itself. For this reason the MCA are focusing on seafarers hours of rest during routine inspections of UK and foreign flag vessels. This conviction should send a strong message to the industry that failing to provide adequate hours of rest for the crew is not acceptable.
Graham Duff, prosecuting on behalf of the MCA said in court:
The hours of rest regulations are not just a bureaucratic exercise, they are all about safety.
It should go without saying that fatigue, particularly for decision makers on board large vessels, is a very real enemy and presents a significant risk to the safety of others.