A former captain and marine pilot have each been given four months suspended sentences after pleading guilty to causing a collision in the River Humber.
Gehan Sirimanne, marine pilot, now retired and Ruslan Uromov, former captain were sentenced at Hull Crown Court today (8th November) after pleading guilty to offences in connection with a collision between a car transporter ship and a ferry on the River Humber in December 2015.
Ruslan Uromov was charged with conduct endangering ships, structures or individuals, contrary to section 58(2) and (5) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. Gehan Sirimanne was charged with misconduct by pilot endangering ship, contrary to section 21 of the Pilotage Act 1987.
They both pleaded guilty to these offences and sentenced to four months, suspended for 18 months. Mr Sirimanne was ordered to pay £45,000 in costs and Mr Uromov was £750 in costs.
At 7pm on the 3 December 2015, Mr Sirimanne, who was then working as a marine pilot for Associated British Ports boarded the car carrier City of Rotterdam at Immingham Dock.
He was due to navigate the Panama-registered car carrier along the River Humber to the mouth of the river where full control was then to be handed over to the captain Ruslan Urumov to take the vessel to sea.
‘Storm Desmond’ had been forecast earlier in the day and strong winds were likely to affect that area bringing its own hazards to navigation that evening.
Humber Vessel Tracking Service (VTS) monitored the City of Rotterdam track which showed that she was straying into the north side of the shipping channel and into the Hawke Anchorage.
Her passage was also into the track of vessels travelling west along the Humber. The Primula Seaways was one of those vessels travelling inward along the channel. Despite alerts from VTS and the captain of the Primula Seaways, the City of Rotterdam continued its passage along the wrong side of the shipping lane. This resulted in a head-on collision.
Although no injuries were reported, both vessels sustained major damage.
In passing sentence Judge HHJ Richardson said this represented the destruction of their professional reputation as professional mariners which had been eradicated by this criminal act.
Michael Groark, surveyor in charge for the Maritime & Coastguard’s Hull office said: ‘This shows that the rules are there for a reason. It was a serious collision which could have resulted in serious injury. Both of these men ignored several alerts warning them they were on the wrong track and put not only themselves but others using the channel correctly, at risk.’
Article above credited to Maritime & Coastguard Agency blog: https://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/pilot-and-captain-of-car-transporter.html?m=1
Oliver Willmott is one of a very small number of advocates with significant experience of maritime criminal cases. He not only deals with cases involving collisions, but also fatality and allegations of breaches of health and safety at sea.
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