Friday, 22 May 2009

Admission of a Maritime and Coastguard Agency Chief Executive

MV Canna’s certificate was not extended retrospectively by MCA. The short term certificate issued to the vessel on 12/09/08 was valid from the date of its issue. Although the postponement was agreed by MCA Belfast MO on 5 September 2008**, technically the full term certificate onboard remained invalid from 1 September until 11 September 2008 – ie during the period beyond the expiry of the annual survey range dates. Also, due to same reason, the certificate remained invalid during the period 1 September to 17 September in each of the preceding two years (2006 and 2007).

** Is it a coincidence that there was communication with the MCA on the day that the Canna image and related queries appeared on Flickr's Rathlin Rip? Why was the matter not dealt with by the MCA on 29 August 2008 - or earlier - when an MCA official was in Ballycastle?

It's taken months but finally there's been an official admission that the MV Canna was carrying passengers without a valid passenger carrying certificate from 1 September until 11 September 2008. I understand that an extension must be sought before a certificate becomes invalid. In 2006 and 2007 the MV Canna was in dry dock and therefore no extension was required since it wasn't carrying passengers

As a proactive measure, we have advised our Belfast Marine office to issue a letter to the MV Canna operators instructing them to review their company safety management system to incorporate procedures and safeguards to ensure that all future statutory surveys are arranged by them within the stipulated range dates.

This seems more like a reactive measure as the Safety of Operations and Compliance with Operational Regs boxes were ticked in Schedule A during the tendering process; all boxes had to be ticked for the tenderer to proceed to the next stage. Was this just another procedural lapse?

MCA document is on Flickr.

The £55,000 'independent' investigation concluded that:

We have concluded that the allegation that the MV Canna operated for a period from 31August 2008 until 12 September 2008 without a valid passenger certificate has not been substantiated.

Some folks on the public payroll must now be feeling like a right bunch of charlies!!

Perhaps someone can clarify whether or not the following regulations apply:

The Merchant Shipping (Survey and Certification) Regulations 1995

Prohibition on proceeding on a voyage or excursion without the appropriate certificate

22.—(1) A passenger ship of Class II(A), III, IV, V, VI or VI(A) shall not proceed on a voyage or excursion unless it has been surveyed and there is in force a Passenger Certificate appropriate to the ship's Class and applicable to that voyage or excursion.


24.—(2) Any contravention of regulation 8(1), 21 paragraphs (1) to (5) or 22 shall be an offence by both the owner and master and shall be punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or, on conviction on indictment, by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or a fine, or both.