Night ops

Monday, September 18, 2006

Solar 1 sinking off Philippines: Overloading, bad weather, bad captain

Inquiry into the sinking of the tanker Solar 1 says here:
...the Special Board of Marine Inquiry looking into the sinking of the tanker Solar 1 blamed the incident on overloading, bad weather and an incompetent ship captain. The findings of the board were released Thursday by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). The DOTC said the Solar 1’s captain, Norberto Aguro, the ship’s owner Sunshine Maritime Corp. and Petron are to be held liable for the sinking of the tanker that has resulted in the country’s worst environmental disaster. The sunken Solar 1 released close to half a million gallons of oil into the waters of Guimaras Strait. The oil has contaminated coastline in Guimaras and idled fishing communities. The board said the ship suffered from a loss of reserve buoyancy because it was overloaded by approximately 150 tons, as determined from the ship’s load line, or the free space a vessel must maintain for safety.
Ouch.

Original Manila Times article here:
DOTC Secretary Leandro R. Mendoza said the Solar 1’s captain, Norberto Aguro, the ship’s owner Sunshine Maritime Corp. and Petron are to be held liable for the sinking of the tanker that has resulted in the country’s worst environmental disaster.

“Based on the findings of the SBMI, the master of the ship and the Sunshine Maritime is administratively liable for the vessels sinking. I have ordered their suspension,” Mendoza said.

Petron, who contracted the tanker, “is liable for overloading the vessel and rendering it unseaworthy,” he said.


An earlier report mentioned indictments:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday recommended the indictment of the Filipino and Japanese incorporators and officers of Sunshine Maritime Development Corporation (SMDC), owner of the oil tanker that sunk off Guimaras Island, for possible violation of the anti-dummy law.
And another report says the load was within limits:
REPRESENTATIVES from the Maritime Industry Authority on Tuesday defended the amount of load it allowed the Solar I tanker to carry, saying that it was still within allowable limits.

But a member of the Special Board of Marine Inquiry believed that letting the Solar I carry more load affected its stability and contributed to its sinking on August 11 while loaded with 2.1 million liters of oil.

The incident caused a massive oil spill that affected Guimaras and Iloilo.

Marina naval architect Carlos Odi testified Tuesday that the tanker’s Marina-approved freeboard, which refers to the distance between the main deck of the vessel and the portion of it level with the water line, was within the allowed limit and also let the tanker carry more load and earn more revenue.

The Marina-approved freeboard was lower than that specified by private classification society Bureau Veritas, which had inspected the tanker. A higher freeboard means there should be less load on the vessel.

When asked during the SBMI hearing what he thought was the effect of adding more load to the Solar I, Odi answered: “I think that is the revenue.”

He said that with the Marina-approved freeboard, the tanker could have a 98 percent load, whereas with the Bureau Veritas freeboard, the load was only 70 percent.

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