Maritime union criticizes car carrier design

JANUARY 6, 2014 — U.K. based maritime union Nautilus International, which has  21,000 members in the U.K., Netherlands and Switzerland, is using the grounding of the Höegh Osaka as an opportunity to voice its concerns about car carrier design and operation.

"In reality, these vessels – both vehicle and livestock carriers - are built to the edge of safety for commercial reasons," the union's senior national secretary Allan Graveson said in a BBC TV interview. "Their design has gone beyond what is reasonable and these ships need a lot of careful management."

"There is manifest failure of the regulator that permits the design and operation of ships in this way," said Graveson."Improvements are required and we hope the investigation will examine the root causes of this incident."

Graveson said the skills and experience of the pilot onboard had helped to prevent a major accident after Hoegh Osaka developed a severe list shortly after leaving port.

"By running the ship onto the sandbank, his quick-thinking and professionalism helped to avert loss of life, environmental damage and potentially catastrophic blockage of a major U.K. port," he said.

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