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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

May 29, 2009

Vroon Offshore fined in OSV deaths case

Vroon Offshore Services was fined GBP 280,000 (about $447,000) today after admitting three breaches of U.K. marine safety regulations in relation to a September 2007 incident in which three men died.

Finlay MacFadyen, 46, Robert O'Brien, 59, and Robert Ebertowski, 40, all suffocated to death in the anchor chain locker of the offshore support vessel Viking Islay.

Mr. Ebertowski had gone into the confined space to secure a banging chain that was keeping the crew awake.

Mr. O'Brien probably went in to help him but was also overcome by the lack of oxygen.

The court was told that Mr MacFadyen raised the alarm and then tried to enter the small chamber wearing breathing apparatus, but could not get through the hatch. He tried again, using a different breathing apparatus, but he too collapsed when it was dislodged.

Judge Robert Moore ruled in Sheffield Crown Court that if the vessel had had an oxygen meter on board the deaths could have been prevented, though he noted: "There remains a possibility the men may still have opened this dangerous space and gone into it without using the meter."

Earlier this month, a jury cleared the ship's captain, Donald Fryer of failing to discharge his duties properly in such a manner as to cause the deaths.

You can read the Yorkshire Post report on the case HERE

You can access the U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch report on the incident HERE


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