Tag Archives: Norway

SHIPPING NEWS: Ship-breaking training institute on cards

With help from Norway, the government is going to set up a training institute for ship-breaking workers in a bid to make them aware of the occupational health hazards and reduce causalities in the yards, said  [Bangladesh’s] Industries Minister Dilip Barua yesterday.

He also said the government has prepared a draft policy for the ship-breaking industry and posted it on the website a month ago to get comments on it from mass people.

He was speaking as the chief guest at a workshop styled “Occupational safety and health at ship-breaking industry of Bangladesh: Current status and way forward” organised by Bangladesh Occupational Safety Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) and Asia Monitor Resource Centre at Senate Bhaban in Dhaka University.

The task of breaking ships is very risky and mostly workers from monga (seasonal and localised famine)-hit northern districts take up the work.

The minister, however, did not mention when and where the training institute will be built.

There are around 80 ship-breaking yards and around 50,000 workers work there, speakers said.

A total of 43 workers died and 92 others were injured in several accidents from 2008 to 2010 in the shipyards, they said.

On an average, seven to eight accidents took place in the shipyards almost everyday, but most of them remain unnoticed, they added.

Speakers also expressed their concern as such ships bear toxic substance, which may cause health hazard to the workers and environmental pollution in the long run.

They urged the government to be strict to bar import of such ships.

SM Morshed of OSHE chaired the workshop.

Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=211249

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MARITIME | Russian crew found ‘drunk’ after near-grounding in Norway

The track of the Wilson Rhein (bt.no)

The track of the Wilson Rhein (bt.no)

Russian master and coxswain were taken by Norwegian authorities for blood tests after a near-grounding.

The 1,800-dwt Wilson Rhine (built 1998) was said to have been in danger of running aground off Marstein overnight on 1 September en route from Rotterdam.

Marine authorities tried to contact the ship, but it managed to swing back just metres from a dangerous shallow and later docked at Sotra with a steel cargo.

The two men, from a crew of six, were found to be intoxicated.

“It is totally unacceptable,” Wilson spokesman Jon Are Gummedal told local media. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol on our ships.”

Source: Tradewinds.no

I was not quite satisfied with such a brief account, so I googled for news on the “Wilson Rhine” — and found a quite detailed report from the Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende (it is in Bokmål Norwegian, but the Google translation is fairly good). Thanks to them, I can show you how close to grounding the ship was:

I don’t know about you, but it looks like a heck of a narrow escape to me!

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SAFETY | Norwegian disappointment

WHEN the 26,800 dwt Panama-flagged Full City dragged its anchor on to the rocks off southern Norway in the summer of 2009, it leaked 200 tonnes of fuel oil into the country’s coastal waters and led to the criminal trial of two of the ship’s Chinese officers.

The ongoing investigation is a very important case for Norwegian maritime justice as it is the first full-scale test of the new Accident Investigation Board in Norway.

Previously, maritime accidents in Norway were investigated by way of traditional maritime inquiries.

The maritime inquiry conducted a general examination of the accident and its causes, and considered both safety at sea issues and the allocation of civil and criminal liability. The questioning of witnesses was led by an experienced mariner inspector.

This has, for several decades, been heavily criticised for the tendency to criminalise the seafarers as the same institution or person carried out both the safety inspection and the police investigation, and even claimed the criminal sentence to the victim.

But from July 1, 2008, Norway implemented a new investigation system, where understanding the cause and the criminal investigation were separated.

Following an international trend, the new rules gave the AIBN the authority to investigate the accident for the purpose of identifying circumstances of importance to improve the general safety at sea, but not to apportion criminal liability.

The responsibility of the criminal investigation was transferred to the local police authority that has the jurisdiction in the area where the accident occurs.

Regretfully, in view of the intention to put a stop to the unacceptable criminalisation of seafarers, the full-scale test of the new system, as we have seen by the Full City case, must be characterised as a great disappointment for the group of senior mariners, which for a decade were fighting for change.

The previous problem — that the same maritime accident investigators also carried out the police investigation and even instigated preliminary judgment — seems to have been replaced by the quite opposite problem, that the police are now investigating potential criminal charges following a maritime accident without being qualified.

Following the Full City case, the Norwegian Pilot Organisation sent a letter to the Norwegian Department of Justice claiming that the police should not be involved in the investigation of maritime accidents as they are not qualified.

After the Full City grounding most of the crew were interviewed, first by the police, later in court, presumably in order for the police to use their statements in any substantial criminal court. However, the ship master and third mate were almost immediately taken to virtual house arrest in Norway for nearly five months by detention of their passports.

They were preliminary charged with violations of Section 152b of the Norwegian Criminal Code and various sections of the Norwegian Ships Security Act.

Following the trial the master was sentenced to six months imprisonment, with three months suspended. The third mate received two months with three weeks suspended. The sentences are now at the appeal courts.

The present and common mandate to the accident investigation boards is to limit their activity to a maritime safety investigation and completely keep away from assessing probably criminal misdemeanour of the crew.

This is fair enough if there is no need for a criminal investigation. But in cases where the state’s public prosecutor wants to investigate possible civil liability or criminal offences, the accident investigation board should carry out a full safety management system evaluation and clarify compliance with the International Safety Management Code.

This is crucial information for the police before the starting up of a criminal investigation. We cannot expect the police investigator to have the full insight and understanding of the ship’s operational and navigational details and the sharing of responsibility between the company and the ship. Another flaw in the Full City case is that the court is acting and judging on behalf of a preliminary report, which clearly states that the investigation is not yet concluded. We see no evidence that the police have consulted anyone with a maritime background.

In the case of the Full City officers, they were detained in virtual house arrest by the confiscation of their passports. This must be considered as an illegal action and not justified in maritime laws.

Recent studies by BIMCO have identified 14 cases of seafarer’s detainment that took place during an 11-year period involving 12 coastal states. None of them were later convicted. According to BIMCO, this is unfair treatment of seafarers and a questionable application of law.

Marpol and the European Union’s directive 2005/35/EC give guidance on criminal proceedings being pursued only in cases where intent or serious neglect can be proven.

Even the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas urges that the human rights of the accused must be observed in all trials relating to the alleged violation of maritime pollution laws.

Has this provision been fulfilled for the Full City seafarers when their trial was based upon a preliminary investigation, and the police investigation was lacking professional maritime competence?

Arne Sagen is an authorised loss control manager, lead ISM code auditor and IACS quality assessor. He has been acting as port state inspector for Trinidad and Tobago, Namibia, Egypt and as flag state inspector for Antigua and Barbados. He is also on the advisory board of the Norwegian maritime safety lobby group, Skagerrak Foundation.

Source: http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/sector/regulation/article172372.ece?src=Search

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OIL & GAS | Norway bans new drilling

Norway has banned any new deepwater drilling until a full inquiry is conducted into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

“We are moving ahead with the 21 licensing round. We will have the accident in the Golf of Mexico in mind going forward,” said Norway’s energy minister Terje Riis-Johansen.

“There will be no drilling in any licenses on deep waters coming out of the 21st round before we have sufficient knowledge of this accident, including possible implications for our regulation.”

“In addition to that, before awarding licenses in the 21st round, I will ensure I have deeper knowledge about the accident.”

“The precautionary principle combined with a predictable framework, have to be the foundation for our petroleum politics,” Riis-Johansen said.

Reports say this is the first such decision outside the US, which has placed a six month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Tuesday the UK’s department of energy announced it would increase its inspection of drilling rigs and monitoring of offshore compliance.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has also asked a new oil industry group to report back on its findings on the UK’s ability to prevent and respond to oil spills.

“I’ve had an urgent review undertaken to reassure myself and the public that all appropriate measures are in place around our shores,” Huhne said.

On Tuesday trading in global energy stocks were mixed despite the fallout from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Goldman Sachs downgraded the oil services sector Tuesday from attractive to neutral suggesting deepwater drillers are in for a tough time.

The US investment bank says the current six-month drilling memorandum could stretch to 12 months.

On Monday US-listed offshore contractor Oceaneering International cut its full-year earnings forecasts by up to 14% due to the spill.

It said demand for ROV and other equipment used in offshore drilling has tumbled since new drilling restrictions in the US were announced.


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FULL CITY | Crew plead ‘not guilty’

Full City oil spill off Langesund (NOR): master and chief officer face up to 10 years in jail

Full City oil spill: master and chief officer face up to 10 years in jail

The master and chief officer of the Cosco-owned 26,800-dwt bulker Full City, which spilled about 300 tonnes of fuel oil after grounding off Langesund, Norway on 30 July, 2009, have pleaded not guilty on the opening day of the trial.

A ten-year sentence could await the pair if found guilty of negligence in relation to the incident.

Charges against them include breaches of Norway’s pollution control and ship safety and security Acts.

The prosecution contends that the ship failed to respond to weather warnings and that the officers delayed making contact with emergency services once the danger became apparent.

Lawyers for the charged pair contend, however, that a coincidence of unfortunate circumstances involving weather, technical issues and advice given to the ship on anchorage by the coastal authorities led to the grounding.

The trial is likely to attract additional attention after another Cosco bulker, the Shen Neng 1, grounded on Australia’s Great Reef on April 3 leaking a small amount of fuel oil.


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