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The truths they don't want you to read....

Monday, December 31, 2007

Unidentified Floating Object

Coors Stinky Bay BenbeculaThe mysterious object found on the shore at the well named Stinky Bay, in Benbecula, has turned out to be an empty brewing vessel for Coors which was being shipped from Germany to the US.

So far so interesting, and it makes a nice story for the press to cover at what is normally a quiet time of year.

The question we should be asking is "Who is going to pay for it's disposal?"

The answer is: the Comhairle.

At present neither the shipowner, the customer, nor the supplier have any responsibility for anything lost overboard (although they can be liable for losses caused by the flotsam) and aas a consequence, once it is off the ship, nobody cares about recovery, removal or cleaning. Except the local authority who have to do the clean-up.

Last year, there was a proposal to add responsibility for losses from ships inside the EU back onto the shipowner (and they would presumably provide loss insurance for the customers), to ensure that funding for beaches and seas to be cleaned could be simple and clear.

Unfortunately, the UK (egged on by the shipping industry) vetoed this proposal, and the opportunity to pass this into law was lost. All of which explains why the shipowners never notified the Coastguard (or Lloyds?) of the loss - when, where, how? - as they have no obligation to do so. Indeed, doing so might create an obligation on them.

If we want to legislate against dropping litter on streets, why do we allow this kind of fly-tipping to continue?


Anonymous said...

To describe this as "fly tipping" demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of matters marine, although the rest of your blog would indicate a selective comprehension of marine liability.

The circumstances surrounding the loss of such a large item of deck cargo will have been "hairy" to say the least,and certainly not through any choice in the matter.

There are major issues surrounding the loss of large numbers of containers from the decks of well found and very large vessels, where tonnage rules are manipulated to advantage to reduce underdeck volume, and hence Suez/Panama Canal and other tonnage based dues without compromising number of containers carried (bit like accountancy). This in turn leads to the wheelhouse high stacks of containers exposed to anything the sea can throw at them. Most of the lost containers are never recovered and presumed sunk, but don't bet on it.

I have a fair degree of confidence that the shipper of this particular cargo will be identified in due course so we shall see what transpires.

Angus said...

Ruaridh, you said "I have a fair degree of confidence that the shipper of this particular cargo will be identified in due course so we shall see what transpires."

Why did the ship not notify the Coastguard of the loss when it ocurred? That is no different from fly-tipping as far as I am concerned.

The loss of containers in the North Sea has resulted in the Dutch coast being covered in the debris; so it was surprising that the Dutch Government also opposed a liability convention in the EU.

A proposal for a convention on non-toxic waste can be found on the KIMO website.

Anonymous said...

nothing to say it fell off a ship on this side of the pond- although no marine growth can be seen in the photo, it may have been in the sea for months

Anonymous said...

Recycling value.....

Anonymous said...

of course if i were a 'little green man' this is exactly how i'd disguise my spaceship!!!

Anonymous said...

It would appear from other websites that:
- the ship from which the tank fell had contacted the relevant authorities,
- the Council are in negotiations with their insurers, and
- the Council won't be paying for disposal of the tank.

So, a good result all round.

And a large slice of humble pie for the blogger, I would hope...

Anonymous said...

I'll drink a Coors beer to that!