2001 Maritime

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March 23, 2001

Probation, fine for Neptune Dorado master
The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California announced that Kiriakos Daioglou was sentenced yesterday to three years of probation for willfully and knowingly failing to report to the United States Coast Guard the hazardous condition of the T/V Neptune Dorado, in violation of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, 33  U.S.C.  1232(b) and 33 C.F.R.  160.203 and 160.215. Daioglou was the master of the vessel.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge William H. Alsup following a guilty plea entered on December 20, 2000. The criminal charges stem from numerous dangerous conditions found by the Coast Guard aboard the T/V Neptune Dorado, including inoperable fire pumps, oil leaks into the engine room, faulty ventilation systems and, most significantly, the fact that a significant quantity of oil cargo had leaked into the ship's ballast tanks, creating a serious risk of explosion.

Elmhirst Pte. Ltd., a Singaporean company and the ship's owner, and Polembros Shipping Limited, a Liberian company which is the operator and manager of the vessel, also pled guilty to the same charge in December 2000, and admitted that they too knowingly and willfully violated the Ports and Waterways Safety Act. 

The vessel's former captain, Hristoforos Sotiriadas also, pled guilty in December 2000 to operating, and aiding and abetting operation of, the ship in a grossly negligent manner, in violation of 46 U.S.C.  2302 and 18 U.S.C.  2. 

Daioglou was placed on three years probation and ordered to pay a criminal fine of $25,000.  He is also banned from operating vessels in the United States for one year, and must  go through re-training and re-certification before again entering the United States. 

The companies were previously ordered to pay $2.5 million in fines and penalties. According to the Information filed by the U.S. Attorney, on approximately August 18, 2000, the T/V Neptune Dorado took on a load of crude oil in Australia for delivery to the Tosco Refinery at the Richmond Long Wharf in the San Francisco Bay.  In the course of the voyage from Australia to San Francisco, Captain Daioglou knew that the ship was in a hazardous condition in that: the main fire pumps were inoperable; there were oil leaks in the engine room; there were leaks from the marine sanitation device into the bilges; and three of the ballast tanks were contaminated by a combination of oil, sludge and/or vapors, which created a significant risk of explosion. 

Daioglou and the chief engineer reported some of these conditions to Polembros by way of telex during the voyage.  None of the problems were reported to the Coast Guard, as required, when the vessel arrived in San Francisco Bay on September 23, 2000.  According to his plea agreement, Daioglou admitted on October 6, 2000 to agents of the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the FBI  that three of the ballast tanks contained oil cargo, sludge and/or vapors.  He said that he had been very worried about the condition of the T/V Neptune Dorado, including the vapors in the ballast tanks, during the voyage from Australia to San Francisco.  He admitted that the condition of the vessel, especially the hydrocarbon vapors in the ballast tanks, was so potentially dangerous that he attempted to ventilate the ballast tanks during the voyage to lesson the risk of an explosion.

Daioglou also said that he had  communicated with Polembros before and during the Australia to San Francisco voyage regarding the condition of the vessel. When the ship arrived in San Francisco Bay on September 23, 2000, it proceeded to Anchorage Nine, just south of the Bay Bridge.  On September 24, 2000, the Coast Guard sent inspectors to conduct a routine safety inspection.  

When the inspectors boarded the ship, Captain Daioglou failed to report any of the hazardous conditions that he knew existed aboard the vessel.   A Polembros port engineer who was present likewise failed to disclose any of the hazardous conditions.  In an ensuing series of inspections, the Coast Guard discovered the hazardous conditions including approximately 500 tons of oil cargo and associated vapors in the Number 7 port ballast tank, which created a serious risk of an explosion, and which could have risked both the lives of the vessel's crew and anyone else on board the vessel,  and the waters of San Francisco Bay.   Further, the Coast Guard discovered that vessel's log books falsely indicated that the ballast tanks were empty, and had been empty throughout the voyage from Australia to San Francisco.                      

The prosecution was the result of an investigation by agents of the Coast Guard Investigative Service, FBI, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Melinda Haag, Jeffrey Bornstein and Herbert Johnson are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case.

Harland & Wolff design unit wins NASSCO contract
Harland and Wolff Technical Services Limited, the stand alone design and engineering consultancy of Harland and Wolff Group PLC, has secured a number of international contracts.

NASSCO, San Diego, has subcontracted the Harland & Wolff detailed design work for a pair of large trailer ships to be operated by Totem Ocean Trailer Express Inc on routes between Washington State and Alaska. These ships are 256 m long overall with a beam of 36m and a service speed of 24 knots. They are provided with a powerful twin screw diesel electric installation with total capacity of 52.2 MW.

Harland & Wolff has obtained two separate contractsfor these vessels; one involving steel design in the cargo aft and stern zones, and another involving outfitting design in the machinery space zone. These contracts are schedule to run until August 2001. The work is to be carried out using the TRIBON 3D CAD system.

The unit also secured work from Holland's van der Giessen de Noord shipyard. The work is in two phases and is schedule to run until August 2001. The first phase of the contract involves preparing the basic structural design and obtaining the classification approval for a lengthened version of an offshore support vessel originally built by Van Der Giessen for British owners Toisa Ltd, Bermuda. The second phase of the work will involve generating the detailed steel design model for the entire hull. The new vessel will feature modified aft and fore ends to accommodate enhanced performance criteria and increased propulsion thruster power.

Big Red boat sold to Spanish operators
One of the ill-fated Premier Cruises' "Big Red Boats"--The Oceanic-- has been sold to Pullmantur, Spain with delivery Thursday March 22, 2001, in Freeport, Bahamas.

"We are very pleased with this purchase of the Oceanic as our first owned vessel. The Oceanic has always been a very successful vessel, and with its high capacity of 585 cabins and more than 1800 beds, it is perfect for the Spanish market. Furthermore the size of the vessel, combined with the vast interior space, and the sliding roof over the two pools, makes it a very comfortable ship for the Meditterranean" stated Mr. Alfonso Lopez, General Manager, Pullmantur.

"DLJ and Progress Group, the mortgage holders in the vessel, were pleased with the cooperation with Pullmantur and the outcome of the sale", stated Niels-Erik Lund, President, ISP and Progress Group.

DLJ and Progress have the former Premier vessels Rembrandt and Big Red Boat III ( ex. IslandBreeze) for sale, and Progress has the Big Red Boat II for charter or sale. Information on these vessels can be found on ISP's web-site