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    MCA issues statement on ISM Code case

    News // April 30, 2009

    The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) in the UK issued the following statement earlier this month regarding a breach of the ISM Code on the offshore supply vessel Vos Viper (see also story about Nautilus UK's statement on the case).

    "At Lerwick Sheriff Court, Captain Alexander Phimister (62) pleaded guilty to allowing drunk crew members on board, a breach of the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (ISM Code). For this he was fined £1,800."

    "In November 2007 Captain Phimister from Buckie, was master of the offshore supply vessel Vos Viper. The ship arrived in Lerwick Harbour on 15th November 2007 to carry out repairs to the radio equipment."

    "The repairs were delayed and so the ship remained alongside. The following evening, the 16th November, Captain Phimister went ashore with the second engineer George Mains and the Chief Officer Gordon Buchan to celebrate his birthday at the local pub. Whilst they were there they met some other members of the crew."

    "The party returned to the ship at around 0100 hours on the morning of the 17th. The Chief Officer, Gordon Buchan (48) went to make a cup of coffee and fell down the stairs. Tragically he died of his injuries."

    "The subsequent post mortem showed that he was more than three times over the statutory alcohol limit of 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath."

    "In passing sentence Sheriff Napier said: even though the vessel as docked, it was your responsibility to ensure that safety policies were complied with. You knew he was drunk when he boarded, you know what happened, you knew he was drunk and died…"

    "Tom Robinson Area Operations Manager survey and inspection said:

    "This prosecution has come out of a very tragic incident and on behalf of the MCA I would like to express our condolences to the family of Mr Buchan."

    "The company had an established safety management policy that banned those that had been drinking to excess coming aboard. Through his own example Captain Phiminster failed to ensure this was complied with and tragically on this occasion someone died."

    "The sentence should send a clear message that those in charge of a vessel have a duty to ensure regulations and requirements are upheld, particularly those that are there for the safety of all onboard."


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