Alleged Pollution investigation
Alleged pollution investigation:The undersigned Independent Ship and Marine Surveyors carried out an inspection onboard the detained vessel at the port, in order to investigate the reportedly suspicious alleged oil pollution caused by a container vessel and to intervene with the authorities in order to release the vessel without any delays and to protect the interests of the underwriters.
Upon boarding the vessel, the surveyor met the Master and the Chief Officer of the vessel and explained the purpose of the visit. As stated by the Master of the vessel the vessel had notified the port control upon sighting a sheen of oil in the vicinity and around the vessel which port control had replied stating the authorities are well aware of the same. Later the port officials had boarded the vessel and had carried out inspection and gauging the vessel’s bilge and sludge tanks.
The port officials had drawn samples from the vessels aforementioned tanks for laboratory analysis. The surveyor was given to understand that the owners of the subject vessel had received a Letter of Protest on the same date issued by the Harbour Master’s office via e mail stating that the subject vessel was held responsible in suspicion for alleged pollution damage caused at the vicinity of Berth.
Inspection was carried out by our surveyor on the subject vessel which was suspected liable for pollution and detained at Berth, in order to investigate the facts leading to the alleged pollution.
Alleged Pollution investigation-on board the vessel
The investigation by constellation marine surveyors continued for a period of three days from the time of initial inspection with the surveyor’s continuous presence onboard the vessel in order to assist the Master and to intervene with the authorities in order to release the vessel without any delays and to protect the interests of the P&I underwriters.
Alleged Pollution investigation-Inspection of visible areas of the hull
Inspection of visible areas of the hull was carried out and noted traces of oil from the bow to an extent of approximately 40m from the bow margined at 5.2m draft mark which appeared to be thick black oil. No traces of oil noted at the midship area nor aft part of the vessel’s hull.
Samples of oily water mixture was drawn from the vessels bilge and sludge tanks as well as over side sea water samples & ballast water samples from all water ballast tanks on board the vessel. Deck log book and the VHF log book of the vessel was sighted and verified by the undersigned and noted all relevant entries were made on the log books pertaining to the incident. The engine room was inspected and the Oily Water Separator was checked and noted in satisfactory working order. The overboard discharge valve was noted to have been secured in locked position and sealed. No MAGIC PIPE was noted to have been fitted onboard inside the engine room. Oil record book was checked and verified and copies of relevant pages of the log book was obtained.
Continuous efforts made on the first day in order to contact the Harbour Master during the late PM hours and failed due to responsible person(s) in charge at Harbour Master’s office was being off duty at the time.
The vessel completed cargo operation during early AM hours on the second day and was ready for sail in all aspects. The Master had informed readiness of the vessel to the port control and the port control replied to remain at berth till further notice and confirmation for vessel’s sailing schedule.
Later upon contacting the port authorities it was given to understand that there is no objection whatsoever with regard to the vessel’s departure as there had been not any evidence at this stage to confirm the alleged pollution damage was caused by the subject vessel. However the vessel was suspended at the berth stating subjected to further investigation.
During late PM hours on the second day, the ship’s staff observed carrying out of hull cleaning by port clean up team. The cleanup of the vessel’s contaminated hull area was noted by surprise as the same was not been notified to the vessel by any party. At the same time the local agents were notified by port control stating the vessel will be casted off upon completion of the hull cleaning process. This was verified by constellation marine surveyors after contacting the Harbor Master’s office and the Marine Department at port. The marine investigating consultant was given to understand that the Master of the subject vessel was to inform port control upon completion of the hull cleaning process.
Cleaning of Starboard side contaminated hull area was carried out and soon after the pilot embarked the vessel in order to shift the vessel from portside alongside to starboard side alongside to the same berth for continuation of contaminated hull cleaning of port side hull area. Upon shifting of the vessel the cleaning of contaminated areas of the port side hull was carried out by the port clean up team.
Upon completion of cleaning of the contaminated hull areas of the vessel, the Master of the vessel notified port control via VHF and informed about vessel readiness for sailing and requested for pilot. At this stage the port control informed the vessel to further remain at berth till confirmation from the port control.
On the third day constellation marine surveyor requested Harbour Master’s ofiice for an appointment in order to carry out a discussion with regard to the vessel’s delay at berth with unexplained and unclarified statements made by the port. The request been made was politely rejected by the harbor Master’s office. Thereafter repeated telephone calls were made by the investigating surveyor the intension of displaying the vessel’s cleanliness and requesting evidence of reports or documents of some sort from the port for holding the subject vessel responsible for the alleged pollution damage which had occurred in the vicinity of the berth.
Upon repeated requests been made officially via e mail and verbal communication by the investigating surveyor with regard to the evidence of reports or documents from the port for holding the subject vessel in detention, At early PM hours the duty officer on bridge received instructions via VHF for the vessel to be ready within 20mins time in order to receive the pilot and to cast off from the berth. The undersigned witnessed the vessel passing the breakwater.
At no stage Vessel was noted or been issued with any notice stating any detention of whatsoever. The vessel was released from the port with no protests, guarantees or claims of any sort against the vessel’s owners nor owner’s underwriters.