Tanker Owner Defends Ship’s Captain in ‘Hit and Run’ Ferry Accident


The head of I.M. Skaugen SE, the Norwegian company that owns the tanker ship Norgas Cathinka, has defended the decision of the ship’s captain to leave the scene after he was involved in a deadly collision in Indonesian waters on Sept. 26.

“From what we have learned so far, we believe our captain has exercised sound judgment and made the right decision when attempting to minimize the risk of a further collision and a possible explosion due to the hazardous cargo on board our vessel. He followed company regulations and international law in this process,” Morits Skaugen, the CEO of I.M. Skaugen SE, said in a press release received by Antara news agency on Wednesday.

Captain Ernesto Lat, a Filipino, and Chief Officer Su Jibing, a Chinese national, have been named suspects by Indonesia’s National Police after the chemical tanker Norgas Cathinka collided with the Indonesian ferry Bahuga Jaya in the Sunda Strait. The accident caused at least eight deaths, with dozens still missing.

Indonesian authorities have labeled the incident a hit and run, as the ship left the scene immediately after the collision.

“We have secured the ship,” Banten Police’s head of sea patrol, Adj. Sr. Comr. Tohir, said after the accident. “We worry that the ship will try to run away again.”

But Skaugen said the captain thought it was impossible to stop and drop anchor in the busy and narrow shipping lane.

“He had to consider the safety of his vessel and the safety of other vessels in close vicinity. After navigating to avoid both shallow waters and an island to prevent grounding, he returned to the scene of the collision,” Skaugen said.





Leave a reply