Unions Want Answers On Causes Of Panama-Flagged Livestock Carrier Disaster

By MarEx 2013-09-25 11:44:00

Nautilus International, the union that represents British, Dutch and Swiss licensed deck officers, has written to International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu to ask that the IMO release the results of Panama’s investigation into the 2009 DANNY F II disaster, in which 44 people died. The ship capsized and sank in bad weather in the Mediterranean Sea on Dec. 17, 2009, 11 nautical miles off the coast of Lebanon. MM&P submitted a paper to the IMO calling for an investigation and report by Panama on the tragedy. Now, almost four years after the accident, Panama has submitted its final report. But in an unusual twist, the report cannot be viewed on the IMO website and there is no word on when it will be released to the public.

“More than 40 seafarers, including the master and ETO, who were Nautilus members, died when the ship sank,” wrote Nautilus General Secretary Mark Dickinson in a Sept. 9 letter to the IMO. “We (and family members) have been deeply disappointed to discover that the report on the disaster cannot be opened or downloaded via the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GSIS) database.”

The Panama-flagged ship, which was built in 1975 as a car carrier, was renamed the DANNY F II in 1994 after being rebuilt as a livestock transporter. It sank while sailing from Montevideo, Uruguay, to Tartarus, Syria, carrying six passengers, 77 crewmembers, 10,224 sheep and 17,932 head of cattle. Captain John M. Milloy is reported to have remained on board when the ship rolled over in the high seas. In 2005, it was reported that DANNY F II had been detained at Adelaide because of defects which included holed bulkheads, defective navigation lights and radio equipment and defective watertight doors.

The International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA), the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and MM&P have joined Nautilus in pressing for the release of the results of the investigation.

“The DANNY F II was a very major casualty with significant loss of life and we have consistently argued the case for a rigorous investigation and thorough report to demonstrate that concerns have been properly addressed and that investigations had assessed technical issues including the potential effects of any alterations to hull or equipment, and the factors affecting the stability of the vessel, the life-saving appliances provided and used, and any difficulties experienced with their use,” Dickinson wrote. “We believe it is essential that the relatives of those who died, and the shipping industry in general, can be given some comfort and reassurance that lessons have been learned to prevent similar disasters in the future.”