Australia Prosecutes A Ship’s Master And Shipping Company For Pilot Ladder Failure

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The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has prosecuted the captain of a ship and Fu Ye Shipping, a shipping firm based in Hong Kong, in connection with a fatal accident that occurred in 2023 involving a ship’s pilot.

The accident happened on 25th May 2023, when the pilot’s ladder broke and left him with severe injuries when he was being transferred to the cargo ship Boshi 58, which was flying the Panamanian flag.

Investigators discovered throughout the trial that the pilot ladder had been illegally kept and had not been inspected regularly, which had caused its condition to worsen to the point of danger.

The Boshi 58’s captain and Fu Ye Shipping’s master pleaded guilty and received fines of $5,300 and $32,000, respectively, for breaking Australia’s Navigation Act of 2012 and a 2023 maritime order.

This was the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s second successful prosecution involving a pilot ladder failure that injured the pilot.

AAL Dampier Navigation was fined $30,500 in June 2023 for a similar incident that occurred the previous year as the AAL Dampier was leaving the Port of Fremantle. In that incident, a pilot was hurt when he fell onto the pilot vessel’s deck from a damaged pilot ladder, which was around 7 meters below.

Michael Drake, Executive Director of Operations for the AMSA, emphasized that these kinds of incidents are preventable and risk the lives of seafarers.

Pilots depend on the captain and crew to maintain, store, and rig pilot ladders appropriately; neglecting a pilot ladder can have fatal consequences, the official stated.

Drake outlined several typical problems with pilot ladders, such as their inability to provide adequate accommodation combined with other ladders, and their neglectful routine inspection, maintenance, and storage.

AMSA is concerned with vessel safety and crewmember welfare. They have regularly issued warnings for persistent safety violations and, on some occasions, blocked vessels.

The company also successfully prosecuted a similar case in June 2023 last year. In 2022, as the cargo ship AAL Dampier (18,700 dwt) under the flag of Cyprus was leaving Port of Fremantle, Australia, the pilot collapsed and suffered severe injuries.

AMSA inspectors described the ladder’s state as “shocking.” They cited the ship and captain for inappropriate storage and inspection procedures. In that instance, the shipping business was fined AUD 30,500, and the captain was fined AUD 5,500 for two infractions.

AMSA has also issued a marine alert and a safety bulletin about safety for pilot transfer arrangements.

Reference: Marine Link

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

About Author

Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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