Coast Guard detains bulker in Oregon for safety violations

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(PORTLAND, Ore.) — The Coast Guard detained the 600-foot motor vessel Ikan Sudip after significant environmental and safety violations were found during an inspection in Astoria, Ore., on Saturday.

Vessel inspectors from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Portland discovered the discrepancies during an inspection of the Panamanian-flagged motor vessel, which was built in 2004.

“The Ikan Sudip’s safety and environmental conditions posed an unacceptable threat to our waterways," said Capt. Dan Travers, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River commanding officer and captain of the port for Oregon and southern Washington. “We are focused on ensuring that all issues are corrected by fixing the discrepancies and removing the risks found on board the vessel."

While inbound to U.S. waters on Monday, the vessel experienced two separate fuel-related propulsion losses within 24 hours, which completely disabled the vessel at sea. After regaining minimal propulsion with temporary repairs, the captain of the port expelled the vessel from U.S. waters and prohibited its re-entry until the main engine's fuel system was properly repaired.  

Vessel crewmembers and propulsion machinery technicians corrected the fuel system issues on Saturday, and the vessel was allowed to enter the Columbia River while under escort by the towing vessel Somer S. Vessel inspectors from the MSU boarded the vessel while anchored in Astoria and conducted a safety and security inspection where they identified multiple equipment discrepancies and environmental violations.

The violations found included a failure to use engineering procedures required by U.S. and international law, which guide the vessel’s crew through fuel management and vessel propulsion requirements. Other discrepancies were a lack of crew familiarity with emergency rescue drills, deficient structural fire boundary doors designed to prevent the spread of a fire and inoperable lifesaving equipment. Additionally, severe corrosion was found throughout the vessel's machinery piping systems posing a significant threat to the vessel and crew.

Coast Guard vessel inspectors are working with the Ikan Sudip’s flag state and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, the vessel’s classification society responsible for certification of the vessel's construction and engineering, Grace Hawk Shipping S.A., the vessel’s owner, EikoKisen Co. Ltd., the vessel’s managing company, and the vessel’s crew to make the essential repairs.

“Eliminating substandard vessels from U.S. waters is critical to ensuring our waterways are protected,” said Travers. "Only after the vessel crew corrects its deficient safety management system and critical vessel equipment will we allow it to return to commercial service."

Ikan Sudip is a bulk carrier, which is scheduled to load potash in Portland and will depart for Brazil after the safety violations have been corrected.

By Professional Mariner Staff