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Seafarers Suspended over Vessel Grounding Incident - Papua New Guinea National Maritime Safety Authority

The National Maritime Safety (NMSA) has suspended the Master and four Ship’s Officers after investigation into the recent grounding of the MV Balimo Chief.

The vessel departed the Asiawe wharf at 2130 hours bound for Port Moresby and after full away, ran aground at Sipaia village east of Lae 45 minutes later at 2215 hours.

The five suspended officers include the Master, Chief Engineer, Chief Officer & two other officers, were all found to be under the influence of alcohol on the morning after the incident.

The Master, Chief Engineer & Chief Officer who were all on watch and directly involved in the incident were suspended for 12 months, whilst the other two officers will serve a six months suspension for being indirectly involved.

General Manager/CEO, Mr. Paul Unas said Masters, Chief Engineers, Officers and Crew on board vessels are placed in positions of trust by their Shipping Company employers and should conduct themselves in a professional manner and should perform their duties diligently and competently.

There have been a number of alcohol related incidents including disciplinary issues of officers and crew whilst on board vessels. Unprofessional conduct of officers and crew on the vessels in the discharge of their duties is a safety risk to fellow crew on board, the vessel and the marine environment in the event of an incident. NMSA will not allow such negligence to happen and has taken a tough stand to prevent these abuses.

Mr Unas said: “Misconduct endangering a ship or persons on board when a crew member is under the influence of alcohol is dealt with under the Merchant Shipping Act.”

He further stated that NMSA will take tough stance on undisciplined seafarers.

Mr Unas said: “Seafarers is one of the oldest professions and many seafarers worked hard to be who they are and are proud of that profession. NMSA will not allow few undisciplined ones to bring disrespect to the profession.”

Seafarers, shipping companies, training institutions and the Shipping Industry are urged to support NMSA in this endeavour to promote and maintain professionalism and good work practises.

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