Coast Guard detains newly built bulker 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 579-foot motor vessel  Strategic Synergy on Tuesday, requiring the vessel to remain in Portland until numerous safety violations are corrected by the ship’s crew.

Strategic Synergy, owned by SBC Synergy PTE Ltd., intends to load grain in Portland and will depart for Ecuador after the safety violations have been met.

Port State Control officers from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Portland discovered the discrepancies during a routine inspection of the newly constructed Singapore-flagged vessel. Strategic Synergy’s voyage to the United States was its maiden voyage after completing construction in China on April 23.

Several safety discrepancies were related to the Strategic Synergy’s rescue boat, which failed to start after multiple attempts. The vessel’s crew also hadn’t completed any required scheduled inspections or maintenance on the rescue boat since the vessel’s departure from China.  

The vessel’s steering pump lost power and became inoperable during the Port State Control officer’s operational test of its steering system, rendering the vessel incapable of safely maneuvering.

“The combined risks posed by the safety discrepancies made the vessel substandard with respect to U.S. and international conventions,” said Lt. Ben Russell, chief of the Port State Control Branch at MSU Portland. “Each discrepancy impacts vessel, crew and port safety and collectively indicates that the vessel is unsafe to proceed to sea.”

Coast Guard vessel inspectors are working with Strategic Synergy’s flag state, vessel crew, owner and managing company to make repairs to the vessel prior to it loading cargo and departing port. It will remain at berth in Portland until the violations have been corrected.

“The purpose of the Coast Guard’s Port State Control program is to mitigate and remove safety and environmental hazards posed by foreign vessels from U.S. waters,” said Capt. Pat Ropp, commanding officer of MSU Portland. “For foreign vessels calling on U.S. ports, the Coast Guard’s Port State Control oversight is the primary means of enforcing internationally recognized standards for safety of life at sea."

By Professional Mariner Staff