Monday, 24 November 2008

Korean Maritime Authorities a law unto themselves

After failing to persuade a Korean court that the Master and C/O of the Hebei Spirit were in any way responsible for the pollution which followed the Samsung Crane barge repeatedly smashing onto the hull of the Hebei Spirit, the Prosecutor and Samsung immediately appealed against the Korean court’s innocent decision.

For the full KMST report, please click:

http://www.geocities.com/hebeispirit@ymail.com


On realising they had no new evidence or facts to work with, the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal came to their rescue by rushing through an investigation and judgement which basically agreed that the collision was the fault of the tugs towing the Samsung Crane Barge (marine spread / MS); then spent 2/3 of the report criticising and incorrectly bringing up facts that had been disproved in the initial trial.

According to the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) Interim Guidelines (MSC/Circ 1058) and the IMO Code for the Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents (the “Code”), the purpose of any Marine Casualty Investigation Report issued in accordance with the Code, is not to:

1. determine liability or apportion blame
2. not intended for use in Criminal Proceedings and
3. member States are encouraged to withhold publication until legal proceedings are completed (Korea is a member of both the United Nations and the IMO)

but that is exactly what this KMST Decision has done, in direct contravention of the above stated IMO Code.

The KMST Decision was issued following minimal co-operation with the HEBEI SPIRIT Flag State, and a consultative draft was not circulated to all interested parties for comment before the Decision was publicly rendered.

The Master and C/O were both blamed and found liable in a section of the report headed “Acts by Relevant Persons”.

The report itself – by the Incheon (one of 4 branches of the KMST (Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal) was issued September 04, 2008; during the Criminal Appeal Proceedings and has already been submitted as evidence in those proceedings soon after it was issued, by the Prosecutor.

During the actual Criminal Appeal Proceedings, the prosecutor and Samsung’s Defence lawyer have both made frequent references to this KMST Decision and in particular the sections finding fault on the part of the master and chief officer of the HEBEI SPIRIT.

This KMST Decision was issued following minimal co-operation with the HEBEI SPIRIT Flag State, and a consultative draft was not circulated to all interested parties for comment before the Decision was publicly rendered – once more against the relevant IMO Code.

Tomorrow, we will start to point out some of the more blatant inaccuracies of this rushed Report by the KMST.


A scale drawing of the relative sizes of the Samsung crane barge compare to the VLCC Hebei Spirit

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