Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Detained Silversea Ship Allowed To Leave Port

Silversea Cruises' adventure vessel Prince Albert II was detained in Portsmouth yesterday by maritime authorities. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency acted after concerns were raised about overloading and the recording of rest hours for senior staff. The 132-passenger ship, operated by V Ships Leisure based in Monaco, had been due to leave the south coast port at 20.00 last night and finally left at midnight. MCA area operations manager survey and inspections Richard Pellew said: "The safety aspect of the ship and those who are on board is always our primary concern."The inspection of the Prince Albert II has raised two areas of of concern; overloading and the recording of hours of rest for senior officers. "The MCA has zero tolerance on crew fatigue, it is of grave concern that senior officers on board are seemingly not getting sufficient rest." A spokesman said this morning that the vessel had been allowed to leave Portsmouth to Fowey as part of a round-Britain cruise after carrying out corrective action over the stability of the ship. "If it shows the same occurance is happening, we will look at it again," he said. Silversea was not in a position to comment this morning but said a statement would be issued later today.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Customs Slammed Over Response To Stricken Boat

Refugee advocates say they are astounded authorities did not do more to help a stricken boat of Sri Lankan asylum seekers off the Western Australian coast. Customs officials say they were advised the boat carrying 64 people had run out of fuel, food and water while heading to Cocos Island on April 30. They say a passing merchant ship provided assistance and reported they were in good health and their vessel was seaworthy. Customs spokesman Phil Mayne says the boat was expected to arrive at Cocos Island on Wednesday, but a search was launched when it failed to turn up. He says a spotter plane located the vessel 160 nautical miles west of Cocos on Thursday, and Customs alerted four ships in the area to try to reach the vessel.A Russian ship reached them on Friday and was told that five people were missing, presumed dead, after they set out to swim for help. Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition, says the response by authorities appears inadequate. "It does seem that there has been a real lack of responsibility by the authorities not to have sent a boat out immediately," he said. "They knew it was in trouble, they knew it was without food, they knew it was without fuel. To have left people on the sea in those conditions is inexcusable." He says it is a tragedy. "We're devastated, really, to hear that kind of news," he said. "The authorities were aware of the boat quite some time ago. "For people to be left in a situation that people have made [a] desperate swim in the sea for help is a terrible, terrible thing to happen."

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