Vitaliy Trofimov, the captain of the Russian-registered 2,800 dwt tanker Tecoil Polaris, pleaded guilty to serious violations of safety requirements. He was fined more than $1,900 and ordered to pay an additional $32,400 in costs.
The vessel arrived at Humber Port on the evening of Tuesday, June 5 from Hamina, Finland. Humber Port Authority reported concerns about the master and crew’s competency as the vessel approached and berthed at Immingham Docks, Humber. The Polaris was due to be loaded with over 1,600 tonnes of lubricating oil.
The vessel was inspected by UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) officers the following morning. They found a long list of deficiencies in navigation and safety equipment, along with significant non-compliance with the ISM Code. The deficiencies included a lack of correct navigation charts or voyage plan, incorrect stability calculations, inoperable navigation equipment and defects with lifesaving equipment. The vessel was detained and her safety certificate was cancelled.
”This was an extremely serious breach of the ISM Code,” said MCA Lead Investigator Mark Flavell. ”In this case, the Captain showed complete disregard for the safety of his vessel and crew operating the vessel. The intention was for this vessel to carry 1,665 tons of oil to Finland, which could have had disastrous human and environmental consequences.”
Upon investigation and questioning by the MCA’s Investigation & Enforcement Unit, Captain Trofimov admitted to the failures and deficiencies.
”Many of the failures were down to yourself,” the district judge told Capt. Trofimov in sentencing. ”You are responsible for all those onboard and those on the high seas, that is why this is high culpability.”
The MCA said that the vessel will not be released until the fines and costs have been paid.
The Polaris (ex name Roskem 1) has had several encounters with port state control officials over the past year. In November, she was detained in Kotka, Finland for 31 days due to a deficiency related to her watertight doors. At that inspection, reported on November 26, Finnish authorities also found issues with her oil record book, fire doors, fixed firefighting equipment, inflatable liferafts, personal firefighting equipment and engine room cleanliness. An inspection conducted two weeks earlier in Hull, UK found additional problems, but the vessel was not detained at that time.
The 1990-built Polaris belongs to a petroleum company based in Hamina, Finland, that specializes in the re-refining of used motor oil. According to her Equasis record, she is the firm’s only owned vessel.