With reference to your last posted article mentioning the dismiss or resignation of the COSCO BUSAN Pilot’s Mr. Cota’s involve on the collision with the Golden Bridge that provoke the oil spill of about 200 cubic meters of fuel Oil on San Francisco Bay. I would like to remit my comments on this issued sent on 13/06/2008, on which I was clearly stating that above case were duly discussed during the last European Union Conference for shipping Industry developments for the period 2010 -2015. Held in Athens at Ledra Marriot Hotel, on which I was one of the participants.
The International Ship-Owners Association and the ITOF that were duly represented in such a meeting and arise the case of the COSCO BUSAN, and how could the same implemented in order that IMPA (International Marine Pilot association) will gather her the quote of responsibility in case of accident having POB. How the responsibility could be shared with equity on basis of the Role or Fault of every one of the involved parties during the vessels Sea passage. Many P&I Clubs were also represented on the meeting, and each of them provide there on criteria on the issue. Furthermore we were advised that such an accident on the US waters would have a very strong repercussion on the International shipping Market, especially for vessels that will call U.S ports on the forthcoming future.
Taking into consideration that was a C/V on instead of a tanker, they evaluate that the risk still been very high in case of Oil Spill, because 200 cubic meter of Fuel Oil were overthrow to the Water literally said. That for sure with accuracy of 100% many federal governments will take the appropriate security measures in order to avoid any similar incident. Meaning that Vessel other that Petroleum tankers Products, will have the obligation of located/placed the consumption bunkers on high tanks or in a compartments that do not have free communication with the sea water.
Maybe we will face double skin containers vessels? We don’t know yet. But certainly something like that will happen on a short period.
This incident with the COSCO BUSAN could easily cost to such a huge company, as its China Ocean Shipping Co.Ltd, to be closed and in Bankruptcy Situation.
Just to mention, that philosophy it’s not a matter of how many litters of oil need to be spilled, that’s not count today anymore. Just the incident is further enough in order that U.S. Coast Guard will deny the acceptance of the BLUE CARD (COFR) Certificate of Financial Responsibility to this vessel or other vessel belong to COSCO.
Going to the Pilot position. This is something that up to the moment that case will be heard on trail and clear out, the pilot as well as the captain must wait for the court verdict, This is just and administrative measurement. I don’t really know if in case that pilot or captain are found guilty, if they can be confined and prosecute by Law in The U.S. because Oil Spill is a criminal Act.
Further more for C/V, and other vessel other than Tankers, that calling US Ports there are 2 imposed payments on lump sum basis per year, one covering SIGCo. The ship-owners insurance guarantee company that provide the Bond for the issuance of the (COFR), As well as for the OPA (90) Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
Tankers paid on basis of tonnage of Register, as well as if they are SBT or CBT, which are denied for transit in the US Ports. Following the number of calls, the number payable is up to 14 calls per year for SIGCo & 20 Calls for OPA 90 (P&I CLUBS); any call on above of those is considered free of Charge.
SIGCo's primary function is the provision of Financial Guaranties needed to support COFRs issued by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for the world's blue-water tonnage trading to the USA. SIGCo is approved by the USCG as a result of capitalization in excess of $25 million and a comprehensive reinsurance program supported by some of the world's largest reinsurance companies.
SIGCo is liable as Guarantor for claims arising under OPA90/CERCLA that result from oil pollution incidents occurring within the US Exclusive Economic Zone.
As a logical extension of its primary responsibility, SIGCo will also apply to the USCG for a COFR on behalf of the ship-owner. In addition to removing the onerous administrative burden of such an application, SIGCo will also absorb the associated fees payable to the USCG and the US processing agent. There is no charge to the ship-owner for this service.
As a further service to its members, SIGCo has arranged a facility to provide an International Carrier Bond (ICB). This is required for the ship-owner to comply with AMS and APIS regulations when trading to the US. The SIGCo ICB program is the lowest cost, least administratively burdensome option currently available, and processing is done in the Company's usual efficient manner.
Capt. Orlando A. Rodriguez