Master of MOL Cruise Ship Suspended After Striking Fuel Pier
In a statement released Monday evening, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) said that the master of the cruise ship Nippon Maru has been suspended after the vessel's allision with a U.S. Navy fuel pier at Apra, Guam.
As the Nippon Maru departed Apra on December 30, bound for Saipan with 372 passengers and 252 crewmembers, she struck the U.S. Navy's Delta Pier in Apra's harbor. No injuries or pollution were reported, but photos from the scene show that the Nippon Maru sustained a large hole near her stern, above the waterline. Initial reports indicated that the gash measures approximately five feet in height by seven feet long. According to the Navy, an initial assessment of the pier found an estimated $3 million in dock damage.
MOL's passenger division, Mitsui OSK Passenger Line, is looking into the cause of the accident. It has suspended the vessel's master until the inquiry is complete, citing the company drug and alcohol policy.
"The company is aware of a report of alcohol use on the day of the accident," MOPAS wrote. "MOPAS has a stringent drug, alcohol policy that requires personnel to 'abstain from drinking alcohol four hours before performing scheduled duties on the day' and anyone in violation of the policy is subject to immediate removal. The master in charge of maneuvering has been suspended pending the results of the investigation."
The company says that it is cooperating fully with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy as they carry out full investigations into the accident. MOPAS is also conducting a thorough internal investigation to determine what may have contributed to the incident to ensure similar events do not occur in the future.