Portuguese Master Fined for Grounding MV Hamburg

Portuguese master of mv Hamburg cruise liner, which was damaged going over rocky shoals in May this year, pleaded guilty to two charges at Belfast Magistrates court on Tuesday, June 16th.

Captain Joao Manuel Fernandes Simoes (58) pleaded guilty to failure to properly passage plan in breach of SOLAS and failure to report the incident contrary to the Merchant Shipping vessel traffic monitoring and reporting requirement regulations, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) informed. He was fined with a total of £813.

The Bahamas registered cruise liner called in to Tobermory en route from Dublin to Hamburg on May 11th, 2015. The 5,000-ton, 420 passenger cruise ship is owned by the Conti Group and operated by Plantours Kreuzfahrten.

The Bay could not be entered on arrival as there were already two other cruise liners so the Hamburg remained outside about two miles to the North East of the popular port. The call to enter came at around 1pm and a course was set direct to the port.

Portuguese Master Fined for Grounding MV Hamburg1The track took the ship close to a starboard hand channel buoy, but the approach was from the north of the buoy, not the west, over rocky shoals.

The port side grazed along the side of the rocks and the propeller struck causing the ship to temporarily black out. The port engine could no longer be used and the ship limped in to Tobermory Bay. After an internal inspection the ship was instructed by owners to proceed to Belfast.

At around 6pm, the UK Coastguard was informed of the incident, who contacted the ship.

The Surveyor in Charge of MCA Glasgow, Fraser Heasley said: “This incident could very nearly have ended in tragedy.The master failed in his duty to keep a proper lookout and to ensure the safety of his passengers and crew.  

“Following the grounding he proceeded directly to Belfast without notifying the appropriate authorities or accurately assessing the extent of bottom damage by an underwater dive survey.”

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