Back on the 27th May 2011, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency issued a rather misleading statement saying MSC Opera had been detained so the media went to town. The statement was dated the 25th, ship returning that day after being repaired following a breakdown off Sweden, and not actually going anywhere until the 27th. It’s like saying your car’s being impounded when it’s on bricks. I was visiting the ship that day, invited by MSC, and despite them doing a drill during it (nothing unusual, Rotterdam did too), none of us at lunch could understand this story, since she was still scheduled to sail at 4pm and was boarding passengers. While she had 21 deficiencies, only 4 were grounds for detention:
Emergency Systems 04109 – Fire drills Lack of control
Emergency Systems 04110 – Abandon ship drills Lack of knowledge (x2)
Water/Weathertight conditions 03101 – Overloading Overloaded
The MCA said: The vessel was detained in Southampton for 3 days because, the draft records had been incorrectly recorded and the vessel had previously sailed with the maximum permitted draft having been exceeded; abandon ship drills could not be demonstrated satisfactorily, the teams showed a lack of knowledge and had a poor command of the English language which made communication difficult; the fire drill showed a lack of control and lack of co ordination between the various teams; making the ship dangerously unsafe and hazardous to health and safety. Other deficiencies identified included: the passage plan lacked information; the records of rest were incorrectly recorded; the fire detection system had faults that had been previously reported but not repaired; one emergency escape door was partly blocked by stores; the drain for the separator was blocked with oily rags and the masters medical certificate had expired.
When she arrived back she was lower in the water than two days later, the day she left.
Yet other detainees before and since this year alone have been ignored completely by the media. Why?
27th April 2011, Black Watch had 4 deficiencies but one ground for detention, sailing 3pm on the 29th.
Propulsion and auxiliary machinery 13102 – Auxiliary engine Not as required
The MCA said: The vessel was detained in Southampton for two days because the emergency generator was overheating when running on full load. Other deficiencies identified included: oil record book format was not as required; some fire screen doors indication/latching systems were not as required and the cover was missing from the heat detector in the engine department laundry.
7th June 2011, Seven Seas Voyager had 16 deficiencies but a whopping 8 grounds for detention, was moved from City Terminal to Mayflower and finally sailed 8 1/2 hours late.
ISM 15150 – ISM Not as required
Fire safety 07101 – Fire prevention structural integrity Not as required
Safety of Navigation 10127 – Voyage or passage plan Missing
Emergency Systems 04108 – Muster list Not updated
Alarms 08110 – Closing water-tight doors alarm Inoperative
Safety of Navigation 10111 – Charts Not updated
Structural Conditions 02101 – Closing devices/watertight doors Inoperative
Certificate & Documentation – Documents 01308 – Records of rest Entries missing
The MCA said: The vessel was detained in Southampton for 1 day because: the records of rest for all but one officer was missing for June; 2 visual alarm lights for the watertight doors were not operational and the semi watertight doors were inoperative; some charts had not been corrected for the current and forthcoming voyages; also the passage plan for the forthcoming voyage did not exist, and there was objective evidence of a serious failure or lack of effectiveness of the implementation of the ISM code. Other deficiencies identified included: the demonstrated fire drill showed a lack of control; the abandon ship drill showed a lack of knowledge and several crew members had a poor command of the English language.
And today we have Balmoral, due to sail at 6pm but instead has been moved from City to Mayflower. She turned from port (City) to starboard (Mayflower) and just after 7pm conducted a lifeboat drill on the port side embarkation deck, finishing at 9.30pm. She is listed to sail pm on the 28th. Will she? Watch this space…..
Update 28th September: Balmoral sailed for Lisbon at 2pm.