Two crew members of the log carrier MV Funing pleaded guilty after grounding the ship in the port of Tauranga. The master and chief engineer of the vessel have been sentenced and fined for grounding the ship.
The incident happened when the log carrier lost power after departing from the port of Tauranga and was en route to China on July 6th. After losing power the ship was drifted to the channel at Mauao and crashed with the channel buoy. The ship lost its power due to engine failure.
The Master, Liang Guang Hong, and Chief Engineer, Chameekara Prasad Nanayakkara, both were pleaded guilty in the Tauranga District Court on September 10th. Both were fined $3250 and $130 court costs after getting imposed by Maritime Transport Act, 1994 by Maritime NZ. The maximum penalty for both the charges is 12 years of imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000.
Chief engineer and Master admitted to one charge of permitting to operate the ship in a manner which can cause unnecessary danger or risk to other crew members or properties of the ship. The charge stated causing or permitting the ship to be “operated, maintained, or serviced, in a manner that caused unnecessary danger or risk to any other persons or property, including the passengers and crew of the MV Funing”.
Maritime NZ’s Central Region Compliance Manager, Michael-Paul Abbott said after thorough checking the problem was found to be with the fuel quantity piston.
The problem started when one of the ship’s fuel quantity piston was showing an error. Despite of acknowledging and rectifying the error, the alarm was getting triggered continuously which will result in reducing of main engine power, which is needed for exiting narrow harbour entrance. The decision was then made to override the mechanism which will slow down the engine in case of system failure.
At midnight, before departure from the port when the pilot came on board the master gave him a pilot card stating there was no problem. However, when the ship tried to increase the power while transiting the channel, the Chief engineer realized that there was still a problem and the engine was not responding to the full power.
At 12:43 am pilot send tugs for help, while at 12:47 am the ship lost its power and the propeller got entangled with the channel marker and was dragged to the channel bank and got grounded.
After the incident, the tugs towed the ship to the deeper end of the sea while it stayed there for about till 14 July. The log carrier is now being towed to Singapore and might take up to 40 days to reach Singapore.