Captain Fined for False Evidence After Crewman Found Unconscious
The Captain and Chief Officer of an Isle of Man flagged bulk carrier, Emile Bulker, have been fined after giving false information to Maritime NZ after a crewman passed out because of lack of oxygen in the ship’s poorly-ventilated hold.
On September 19, at the Wellington District Court, Captain Walter Damian and Chief Officer Ian Dalingding pleaded guilty to providing false information to Maritime NZ. They were fined NZ$13,500 ($8,500) and NZ$4,050 ($2,500) respectively. Damian also pleaded guilty to permitting dangerous activity. A reparation payment of NZ$10,000 ($6,300) for emotional harm has been awarded to the victim
The incident occurred at the Port of Tauranga on September 6, 2019 when the crewman was working in a hold containing palm kernel. Palm kernel is known to deplete oxygen in the air.
Fire and Emergency NZ rescued the unconscious man from the ship’s cargo hold. He was taken to the Tauranga Hospital and placed in an induced coma. He was discharged from hospital on September 10, 2019.
Maritime NZ investigated, and the Captain and Chief Officer gave false information claiming that assessment and gas tests of the cargo-hold had been done, and the hold was safe to work in.
International law requires operators to have a Safety Management System (SMS) for a ship which sets out safety procedures to ensure that entry into enclosed spaces like cargo holds is properly evaluated for risk and that those risks are effectively managed.