Detention order in Ireland not justified, Irish court finds

Ireland’s Marine Survey Office (MSO) was not justified in issuing a detention order for cargo ship Cielo di Monaco (IMO 9638147), which suffered damaged while she was berthing in Greenore port, County Louth, the Irish High Court has ruled. Cielo di Monaco entered Greenore on September 27th 2015 to discharge cargo. It was piloted in, as is mandatory in Greenore Port.

Dredging had been carried out at the port to provide a deep-water berth, but it transpired that no dredging had taken place in the inner area of the berth where the bulbous bow of the Cielo di Monaco berthed.

The next morning the crew noticed an ingress of water. Cracks were observed in the steel plating of the vessel, the result of her grounding in the lowering tide.

The Master notified the relevant bodies about the damage, including the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.

The MSO also learned of the incident. An inspector boarded the ship on September 29th with a notice of detention, having decided that the two splits in the hull plating  constituted an immediate and serious threat to the safety of the ship and to the marine environment. Repairs were carried out and completed on October 7th and the detention order was lifted on October 9th. On October 8th the owners, DSN, appealed to the Circuit Court, claiming the detention order was unnecessary and disproportionate. It also said the MSO failed to ensure the interference with the vessel’s movement was kept to a minimum. In particular the owners noted the fact the order was not lifted until October 9th, which caused consequential financial loss to the owners.

The Circuit Court had previously ruled the MSO (part of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport), was not justified in detaining the vessel, since the vessel was not a clear hazard to safety, health or the environment.

The MSO appealed to the High Court in relation to specific points of law. The High Court under Mr Justice Denis McDonald agreed with the Circuit Court and refused an appeal against that decision by the MSO.

The High Court judge said that, in his judgment, the nub of the decision of the Circuit Court was that there was no clear hazard to safety health or the environment. There was evidence to support that finding and therefore he did not find any basis to interfere with the Circuit Court decision.

2014-built, Malta-flagged, 25,303 gt Cielo Di Monaco is owned and managed by D’Amico Dry Ltd of Dublin, Ireland. ISM manager is D’Amico Societa Di Navigazione of Rome, Italy. It is entered with Standard Club (European division) on behalf of d’Amico Dry DAC. It is covered for H&M with UMS Generali Marine SpA, with Gard AS having a subscription position, on behalf of d’Amico Società di Navigazione SpA.