Company Pleads Guilty to Breaches of the ISM Code

On the 19 June 2012, a Port State Control Inspector from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) boarded a Panama registered vessel at Portland. During his inspection the Inspector noted that access was being made into the vessel’s ballast tanks without proper procedures being in place. The Master was issued with a Prohibition Notice requiring entries be made in the correct manner in accordance with the Code of Safe Working Practices.

2013.03.14 - Company Pleads Guilty to Breaches of the ISM Code

On the 20 August 2012, the Inspector returned to the vessel. On checking various documents, reports and permits, he identified that entries had been made into the ballast tanks of the vessel without a valid gas free certificate being in place. Further investigation confirmed this information. It also confirmed that the DPA had been present onboard when these entries had been taking place.

The owners of the vessel, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Merchant Shipping (International Safety Management (ISM) Code) Regulations for failing to comply with objectives of the ISM Code. The company was fined on 13 March 2013 with £5,000 plus costs of £6,652.50 at a hearing at Southampton Magistrates Court.

At a previous hearing, the Designated Person Ashore (DPA), pleaded guilty to a breach of the Merchant Shipping (International Safety Management (ISM) Code) Regulations for failing to ensure proper procedures were in place. He was fined £1,000 plus costs of £500.

According to court’s Chairman of the Bench stated the vessel’s company showed a pattern of deceit to cover up defects. The company also showed willful disregard for safety of crew and third party workers on board.

Finally Richard Pellew, the MCA’s Area Operations Manager stated that this prosecution should be a reminder to all owners and operators to have correct procedures in place for entries into enclosed spaces.

Source: MCA

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