Sunday, July 7, 2013

EMSA

 
When the MS Bimini Superfast was operating as the MS Superfast VI in Europe she was under Greek Registry.  So for example if she was on one of the Adriatic ferry runs say from Ancona, Italy to Patras, Greece she would have a Flag State of Greece and a Port State of Italy.  Each of these countries would be responsible to see that she operated safely under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Code of the Seafarer's Training, Certification and Watchkeeping Code (STCW).  Both these countries are as European Union Nations members of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

Since in theory all vessels are subject to and follow IMO-STCW this vessel should have arrived here in the United States in a state of readiness to operate after its Port State inspection by our USCG.  The MS Bimini Superfast arrived here in the Port of Miami, FL under the Flag State of the Republic of Panama fully certified by her Flag State to carry passengers once it had been issued its Port State U.S. Passenger Certificate which shows it had passed the inspection by the USCG Marine Safety Office (MSO) for the number of passengers allowed by that certificate.

To date the MS Bimini Superfast has failed miserably as we have written about several times already. So with EMSA being the marine safety body in the European Union how could this happen?  The EMSA www.emsa.europa.eu is headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal and has a comprehensive website, complete with a mission statement, which one can visit to learn all about them.  That mission statement reads as follows:

"The Agency,
To ensure a high, uniform and effective level of maritime safety and security as well as prevention of and response to pollution by ships within the EU."

Now NAUTICAL LOG read this statement - which is stunningly short -  and immediately noticed that there is absolutely no mention of either the IMO or the STCW which one understood is the Code which was written to achieve the points made in the opening of the EMSA mission statement.

So here we have a vessel which has been under the "watchful eye" of the EMSA which cannot pass the USCG-MSO Inspection and cannot transition power to the ship's emergency systems.  So it is possible that:
  • This situation always occurred and was passed over by EMSA.
  • Sloppy inspections by EMSA never knew of this inability to transition power.
  • The current ship's engineers do not know how to follow the transition protocol.
  • The current ship's engineers attempted an improper transition and damaged the system.
No doubt the USCG-MSO knows of the inspection standard of EMSA and as a result go over formerly European based vessels with extreme care - thankfully since we now sail in these vessels - and as a result continue to hold the MS Bimini Superfast in the Port of Miami, FL.  One might note in passing this is by no means the first vessel that arrived in the Port of Miami from the European Union and found itself in this situation.  NAUTICAL LOG has been called to two of such vessels to train crews, conduct drills and work with USCG-MSO to get them U.S. Certified and the ship sailing with passengers.  In both cases NAUTICAL LOG remained with the vessel for some time as Safety Officer to continue training the crew and supervising drills held daily and weekly.

Good Watch.

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