Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shipping In The Dock This Month - Literally Unfortunately

Staff Arrested in Diverse Criminal Cases
Shipping News Feature

TONGA – PHILIPPINES – There are two cases this week involving shipping company executives who are charged with criminal activity. Police in Tonga say they have bailed John Joness, previously managing director of the Shipping Corporation of Polynesia, the company which owned the MV Princess Ashika, which sank into the Pacific as passengers slept below decks. The tragedy claimed the lives of at least 74 although, due to the possibility of stowaways this figure may actually be low.

The incident led to the resignation of the Minister of Transport after the ships captain made accusations that the Government played a role in insisting the vessel sailed before she was suitably prepared for the voyage. Mr Joness apparently inspected the ship prior to acquiring it and stands accused of forging relevant documents enabling her to sail. The charges follow an enquiry which summoned both Government and company representatives to establish the facts of the case.

In another incident in Davao City, the Philippines, itself too often the scene of ferry disasters, several people have been arrested after a cocaine seizure in December. A staff member discovered the haul in the refrigeration unit of a reefer shipping container at the Maersk container yard. Although the find was duly reported to police it is now alleged that some of the staff conspired to conceal the bulk of the haul from the authorities, stashing it behind the access panel of another box.

The incident was observed and reported by security at the Maersk depot, and led to this weeks arrests. Now Maersk tell us one of their own staff has been charged with possession of drugs and they are preparing an affidavit and obviously cannot comment further at this stage. The total quantity of cocaine involved is said to exceed fifteen kilos and the haul was burnt two weeks ago together with other contraband.

Photo :- The doomed Princess Ashika