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Maersk Launceston master charged over collision with Greek minesweeper off Piraeus

Germany’s Essberger, the owners of 4,533 teu Maersk Launceston, has revealed that the master of the boxship has been charged in relation to Tuesday’s collision with a Greek navy minesweeper off Piraeus.

The vessel is currently staying in the port of Pireaus as requested by authorities, and Esseberger said that additional interviews have been conducted with the 22 crew, while authorities have officially charged the master of the vessel.

“The exact details of the incident which took place early on Tuesday, October 27 are yet unclear. Greek authorities are continuing their investigations to which John T. Essberger will offer its full cooperation,” Essberger said in an update.

There is no obvious damage to the Maersk Launceston, and class are attending the vessel this to inspect its seaworthiness.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.

Comments

  1. The increasing criminalization of the operation and command of merchant ships is to be deplored. Only in extreme cases, e.g. Costa Concordia, can it be justified. In the old days they took away your certificate of competency for a period, or forever. That threat was enough to concentrate the mind. Then came fines, followed by prison terms. Host states are under increasing public and media pressure to be seen to be doing a strenuous job protecting the environment. The seafarer is an easy sacrifice.

    1. What i see is criminalisation of negligent or illegal operation of a vessel, and not of generally operation and command of merchant ships, do not get confused. One dumps toxic or oily waste to the environment, one goes to jail because it is illegal and not because of media pressure. If i hit someone with my car or motorcycle, i potentially will go to jail, particularly if i have violated traffic rules.

      In this case from what i read, there were reports that the containership was steaming at a speed higher than appropriate for the particular crossing, also there were 2 injured and the breach of hull of the minesweeper being GRP almost led to it sinking (she was chopped in half actually). So people might have died. And you still think that this is window dressing or that they are looking for a scapegoat?

      1. QUOTE : from what i read, there were reports that the containership was steaming at a speed higher than appropriate” END QUOTE
        SOURCE- Containership news :
        The container vessel was sailing at a speed of 6.6 knots, when it crashed with the Greek ship, according to local reports, but there is an ongoing investigation to clarify the exact cause of the accident.

        One can notice , that a bunch of apologist is on the rise, blaming for accidents systems, viruses, scarcity of FB access and other strange/remote causes including Big Bang. When focus on competence seems to dissapear in the smokscreen of growing B.S. generated among others by some media joints.

        On the issue of ” speed higher than appropriate for the particular crossing” ,said speed is set by COLREGS rule 6 , although same COLREGS point also to required adherance to local regulations and responsibility (rule 1 &2) .

        6.6 kts(if true) for this ship is less or abt DSAH setting ( speed through the water) and in this particular area any speed may be considered as excessive due to traffic density and…..well (my subjective opinion) general chaos including VHF traffic and even anchored ships may not feel safe there.

        Last but not least -QUOTE when it crashed with the Greek ship, according to local reports END QUOTE- such wording implies fault/blame of container ship from the start,which is a nonsense w/o proper investigation by competent bodies . It takes two to tango I suppose.

  2. I think that we all have to wait and see what actually led to this contact damage. Obviously there must be a human error(s)
    involved. Hopefully not intentionally. Once the root cause is established, then we can see who is responsible and if omitted deeds
    will be punishable.

    Erik Hammarstrom
    Ex Master and Independent Marine Surveyor

    1. John T. Essberger boasts of being a powerful organization. Prove it! If the ship is released soon, then shipmanager is powerful if not…

  3. Agree with you Erik. Has an investigation been completed to identify the reasons, and who is responsible, for the cause of this incident?
    Everyone is in too much of a hurry apportion blame, and quite often ships crew are made ‘scape-goats’ before all the facts are known. The blame game takes precedence. Seafarers offer the point of least resistance, pandemic or not, for blaming any incident at sea. Long before all the facts are gathered, assessed and objective, factual decisions are made.

  4. Over the years this has become the first reaction of a coastal/port authority to any incident in their waters . “Arrest the Captain!”

    This has two unfortunate consequences . The Captain can often languish in jail in a foreign country for months whislt the various interested parties get together with their legal team and decide exactly how they will escape with minimum liability. In fear of imprisonment himself and guided by those legal teams the Captain is basically told to “say nothing unless we approve it”. This delays the authorities in reaching a useful conclusion that could help prevent further incidents and , may, on occasion, obscure te real truth of the matter .

    A recent quote from GCaptai https://gcaptain.com/why-captains-are-arrested/

    ‘Blaming the crew’ has been the go-to response for many ship owners, operators, maritime insurance firms, and ‘flags of convenience’ regulators, rather than addressing some of the bigger, systemic safety issues in the shipping world, that have gone unchecked for so long.”

  5. Lets see the accident report before deciding. Arresting the master here is not a surprise, I’ve seen them arrested there for much less,
    The facts will be interesting, was AIS turned on on warship? Would plastic ship reflect much on radar? speeds? directions?
    This is the 4th warship/merchant ship collision in recent years that I think of. (2 USA, 1 Nor, 1 Gre) Are we seeing a trend?

    Naval Architect

  6. Fact; the OOW s regarded as lazy if they want to look out the window (as directed by Rule 5) for their watch and is expected to carry out mind numbing paperwork throughout a watch. I won’t be surprised if this is involved with this accident. Rule 5 is a law ignored by every company these days.

    1. If it is true what you are saying this must be brought to the attention of the authorities and stopped

  7. If it is true what you are saying this must be brought to the attention of the authorities and stopped

  8. It is noted that the Piraeus Port Authority requested a period of three months in order to carry out the control of the experts and all the data with the recorded movements of the two ships.

    The cargo ship “Maersk Launceston” on which the departure has been banned has been repaired. The inspections are expected to take place today, in order to lift the ban.

    1. Left Piraeus many times on very large container vessels. It is the Master’ duty to be in command on the bridge and support his OoW until the traffic situation will allow his relieve. It is a common situation that navy vessels have his own rules due to lack of experience, the latter should be respected. There will be nobody who will blame the Master if he gives way to the Minesweeper on such occasion.
      As Master in charge over 35 years and 52 years at sea without accident.

  9. I bet if it were a Filipino Captain. The headline would immediately say. “FILIPINO CAPTAIN INVOLVED WITH MINESWEEPER COLLISION”. In bold all caps letters.

  10. Why was the captain of the Greek ship not arrested as it looks like he cut in front of a much larger vessel.

    1. Why should he be arrested? He is an officer of the Navy, the authortities know where to find him.

      Neither the polish captain is arrested, he is detained.

  11. Left Piraeus many times on very large container vessels. It is the Master’ duty to be in command on the bridge and support his OoW until the traffic situation will allow his relieve. It is a common situation that navy vessels have his own rules due to lack of experience, the latter should be respected. There will be nobody who will blame the Master if he gives way to the Minesweeper on such occasion.
    As Master in charge over 35 years and 52 years at sea without accident.

    1. Fully agree as such action is supported by COLREG rule 2 and also by the following truth that; …………..if in doubt that, the risk ( any risk) exists one must assume it exists and act accordingly. By following it one can hope to sail into 35 years of command experrience with zero accidents which can only be congratulated by his peers. Spot on and steady as she goes.

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