Sunday, October 31, 2010

About those tankers.....


"Drunken captain of ship seized in Strait gets short prison term

By Chris Tucker/Peninsula Daily News

TACOMA -- Skippering a 590-foot freighter in the Strait of Juan de Fuca while legally drunk gets you 14 days in prison, six months of supervised release and a six-month ban from U.S. waters.... (full story below)."


I note this is not some tramp freighter. The ship is almost two football fields long and STX, the owner, is a giant shipbuilding and transportation corporation which operates oil tankers. (And note the Coho in the background in this image of the ship in Port Angeles.)

The statement from the U.S. Attorney's officer is here.

It says:

"In asking for a significant sentence, the government noted the potential for disaster with a drunk captain aboard a 20,763 gross tons freighter. 'The consequences of an accident that may have occurred due to the defendants intoxication could have been catastrophic. The defendant’s intended journey through the Straits of Juan de Fuca and down the Puget Sound to Olympia covered over 205 miles through areas characterized by narrow channels and strong currents. More importantly, the defendant’s intended track crossed no less than six Washington State Ferry routes, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and many areas of high commercial shipping and recreational boating activity. The defendant’s ship, carrying large quantities of fuel oil posed further risk to the marine environment.'"

Which does not mean tankers can't be safe; but it is a reminder that industry claims that nothing could go wrong are false.

Drunken captain of ship seized in Strait gets short prison term

By Chris Tucker/Peninsula Daily News

TACOMA -- Skippering a 590-foot freighter in the Strait of Juan de Fuca while legally drunk gets you 14 days in prison, six months of supervised release and a six-month ban from U.S. waters.

That essentially was the sentence handed down Monday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to Korean national Seong Ug Sin, who was arrested by a Coast Guard inspection team in the Strait last April 14.

U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura, who imposed the sentence, heard evidence earlier this month that Sin, who resisted the inspection team's boarding of the STX Daisy he was commanding, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.108 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

No matter who is at the ship's helm, U.S. law requires captains to have a blood-alcohol level of less than 0.04 percent when traversing U.S. waters.

Once the boarding team took charge of the ship, it was ordered to Port Angeles Harbor, where it anchored for several days until another captain arrived to take it to Olympia.

According to trial testimony, the Coast Guard inspection team had difficulty boarding the STX Daisy from a small inflatable boat because Sin refused to follow their instructions.

"Once on board, Capt. Sin continued to have difficulty providing the records required, and a review determined he had no usable charts of Puget Sound," according to a statement Monday from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle.

"A search of the ship determined that significant quantities of Korean whisky had been consumed by SIN and one other officer."

Prosecutors noted during the trial that the STX Daisy's intended route of 205 miles was through Admiralty Inlet and south on Puget Sound to Olympia to pick up a cargo of logs.

"More importantly, the defendant's intended track crossed no less than six Washington State Ferry routes, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and many areas of high commercial shipping and recreational boating activity," Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Thomas and David Reese Jennings wrote in their sentencing memo to Creatura.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard and was prosecuted by Thomas and Jennings along with Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Zlomek, a Coast Guard lieutenant commander.

Sin faced a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

10 comments:

BC Mary said...

Holy Ratzinger!

This man, Captain Ug Sin, offers up a spine-chilling example of the oil tanker risk on the BC coast,

and of telling ourselves that we can depend upon the U.S. Coast Card to look after B.C. as well as their own territory.

Thanks for making this information known, Paul.

Anonymous said...

Where was the pilot, and what was his role? Did the pilot call the Coast Guard?

Seong Ug Sin got 14 days in prison, six months of supervised release, and a six-month ban from U.S. waters.

The Exxon Valdez's Hazelwood was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of negligent discharge of oil, fined $50,000, sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service, and the Coast Guard suspended his masters' license for a period of nine months.

Photo and basic info of the STX Daisy

kootcoot said...

Just like our Dear Leader Gordo, Ug Sin was fortunate that he got apprehended outside of British Columbia jurisdiction, where they would have impounded and towed his boat at his expense and given him a criminal code record rather than ala Campbell a misdemeanor roughly equivalent to a parking ticket.

Of course he wouldn't have been apprehended in BC waters at all as US authorities have to inform Awesome Barry Penner of oil spills on our own "once sovereign" Gulf Islands, since no agency in BC pays attention to anything other than the right of the Campbelloids to steal and exploit the people and the environment blind!

Anonymous said...

The BC Ministry of the Environment will spin this story to read as proof positive that all safeguards are in place, the captain's condition was determined and dealt with in time to avert a calamity, and "What, me worry?", so why should you? At least Penner had some credentials and experience that might have been brought to bear in an international dispute arising out of a American tanker grounding on our shores, but he no longer holds the responsible portfolio. I wonder what Murray Coell will have to offer with respect to his new and important responsibilities?

Raymond Graham

maverick said...

Thanks for making this information known, Paul
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Anonymous said...

here's more incompetence, really expensive incompetence

http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Place+retractable+roof+close+open+rain/3760245/story.html

the new roof won't open or close in the rain

Anonymous said...

Puget Sound Pilots (PSP) are responsible for supplying Pilots on the US side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to ships going to US ports.

PSP are dispatched from Port Angeles, WA - the US Coast Gaurd has a station there too.

Ed Seedhouse said...

Any system that depends on human perfection will eventually fail disastrously no matter how good the people are.
That's just how we humans happen to be.

Anonymous said...

another environmental disaster averted?

http://powellriverpersuader.blogspot.com/2010/07/fish-lake-victory.html

let's hope the environmental report is considered

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