After lengthy consideration of the findings from a Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report, released on 12 June, the body found that:
“It is questionable whether such an old ship should have been trading at all… this report highlights the failures in its maintenance of the ship, and the fact that no structural reviews had taken place since 2009.
“Torbulk did not make available to the chief officer the means to conduct the strength and stability checks on board the ship which are necessary prior to cargo loading. In addition the owners and managers of the ship seemed to be unaware of the risks of carrying high density cargoes and the importance of obtaining accurate information so that the ship could be safely loaded.”
ITF cites the switching of classification societies from Lloyds Register to the International Naval Surveys Bureau in 2009 to save 30% on fees, branding the move “unscrupulous”.
“This accident investigation report must now be the catalyst for urgent action – in particular for general cargo ship safety to be made a priority at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The fact that at the time of the accident the Swanland had been certified as being in compliance with all applicable statutory requirements makes a mockery of the existing regulatory framework.”