Captain fined for failing to adhere to collision avoidance rules

Kolapi Utime, 64, the master of cargo ship Scot Leader (IMO 9404235) has been fined £6,384 after almost causing a collision with Passenger/vehicle RoRo Stena Edda (IMO 9807308) in Belfast Lough.

The Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard that during the incident in March 2021 he turned his vessel in front of the ‘Stena Edda’, which had 503 people on board. It was found that he increased the speed of his vessel, which is operated by Scotline, creating the risk of a collision.

Utime communicated with the ‘Stena Edda’, requesting that it altered its course to port, which the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said was “contrary to good seamanship and collision avoidance”. The Stena ferry had already started to turn starboard to avoid a crash.

Utime admitted his role but said his attention had been on the ferry ‘Stena Superfast VIII’ that was approaching.

Mark Flavell of the MCA said it was a “dangerous situation” caused by Utime “failing to adhere to the collision avoidance rules. There could have been disastrous consequences. “The MCA will always look to take appropriate and necessary action, prosecuting those seafarers who jeopardise others by showing a complete disregard for the laws of the sea. Such offences are not acceptable and those unwilling to follow rules and regulation and improve standards of safety will face the full weight of the law.”

2007-built, UK flagged, 3,183 gt Scot Leader is owned by Scot Leader Shipping care of Intrada Ships Management Ltd of Rochester, Kent.

2020-built, Cyprus-flagged, 41,671 gt Stena Edda is owned by Jiagui International Care of manager Stena Line Ltd of Holyhead, UK. ISM manager is Stena Line Scandinavia of Gothenburg, Sweden. It is entered with Gard AS on behalf of Jiagui International Ship Lease Co Ltd. For H&M it is entered with Alandia Försäkring on behalf of Stena Rederi AB.