Fined Over ‘Disregard For Safety’

A shipping company and its DPA (Designated Person Ashore) have been made to pay a total of £13,152.50 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaches of the ISM (International Safety Management) Code.
On the 19th June 2012, a Port State Control Inspector from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) boarded Terry Siete 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.
On the 20th 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 Terry Siete 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 Terry Siete, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Merchant Shipping (International Safety Management (ISM) Code) Regulations 1998 (S.I. 1561) for failing to comply with objectives of the ISM Code. The company was today fined £5,000 plus costs of £6,652.50 at a hearing at Southampton Magistrates Court.
At a previous hearing, the DPA, had pleaded guilty to a breach of the Merchant Shipping ISM regulations for failing to ensure proper procedures were in place. He was fined £1,000 plus costs of £500.
The Chairman of the Bench stated:
“The owners had failed to properly apply the ISM code. It showed a pattern of deceit to cover up defects, and showed wilful disregard for safety of crew and third party workers on board.”
Richard Pellew, the MCA’s Area Operations Manager (Survey & Inspection) for South-East England, said:
“Entry into confined spaces without correct procedures placed both crew and shore contractors at risk. The company had received a warning that its procedures were lacking but failed to correct matters. The DPA failed in his duty to ensure that correct procedures were in place and then oversaw improper entries into the ships ballast tanks.
“This prosecution should be a reminder to all owners and operators to have correct procedures in place for entries into enclosed spaces.”