The master of a cruise liner, which was damaged going over rocky shoals has pleaded guilty to two charges at Belfast Magistrates court on 16th June, 2015.
Captain Joao Manuel Fernandes Simoes (58) pleaded guilty to failure to properly passage plan in breach of SOLAS and failure to report the incident contrary to the Merchant Shipping vessel traffic monitoring and reporting requirement regulations.
On 11th May 2015 the Bahamas registered cruise liner mv Hamburg called in to Tobermory enroute from Dublin to Hamburg.
The Bay could not be entered on arrival as there were already two other cruise liners so the Hamburg remained outside about two miles to the North East of the popular port. The call to enter came at around 1pm and a course was set direct to the port.
The track took the ship close to a starboard hand channel buoy, but the approach was from the north of the buoy, not the west, over rocky shoals.
The port side grazed along the side of the rocks and the propeller struck causing the ship to temporarily black out. The port engine could no longer be used and the ship limped in to Tobermory Bay. After an internal inspection the ship was instructed by owners to proceed to Belfast.
At around 6pm, the mother of a crew member had spoken to her daughter and been told what had happened. She lost the phone signal and fearing the worst called the Irish coastguard. They in turn called the UK Coastguard, who contacted the ship.
He was fined £400 for each charge and £13 costs – a total of £813.
The judge, his honour K Nixon said he appreciated that other people were on the bridge at the time but the captain was in charge and had to take responsibility.
The Surveyor in Charge of MCA Glasgow, Fraser Heasley said: ‘This incident could very nearly have ended in tragedy.
‘Following the grounding he proceeded directly to Belfast without notifying the appropriate authorities or accurately assessing the extent of bottom damage by an underwater dive survey.’