Owner and captain of chemical/oil products tanker reported as arrested

The shipowner of chemical/oil products tanker Vulcanello M (IMO 9337779), along with the vessel’s captain, have been reported as arrested by several Italian media outlets.

Raffaele Bruno, termed the owner in the reports, and Gioacchino Costaiola, said to be the vessel’s captain at the time of the alleged incident, along with the third deck officer Giuseppe Caratozzolo, were said to have been arrested by the Italian Coast Guard on February 11th following an investigation by the Palermo prosecutor’s office into the disappearance of fishing vessel Nuova Iside off San Vito, Lo Capo on May 12th 2020.

Brullo and the crewmembers onboard the Vulcanello M have insisted that they are innocent and have denied all of the accusations.

The Judge for Preliminary Investigations, the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Palermo and the Coast Guard of Palermo on Feb 11, 2021, carried out the three judicial measures.

The Captain from Procida was transferred from the island to the mainland in the morning and taken to the Poggioreale prison. The third officer was transferred to the Locri prison, while the owner was put under house arrest, according to the reports. Legal investigations continue as to possible charges of manslaughter and/or negligent shipwreck. The shipowner was reported as being under investigation for alleged procedural fraud and personal aiding and abetting.

The Nuoca Iside vanished last May. The bodies of its three crew were subsequently recovered after an extensive search and the vessel itself was found at the bottom of the sea, near its last known position.

Subsequent investigations led to the seizure of the black box of the Vulcanello M and to the inspection of the hull of the ship.

The seizure of the ship and subsequent investigations led to the theory that the Vulcanello M had collided with the fishing vessel, causing it to sink.

During the investigation, the Coast Guard investigators also carried out a series of searches at the headquarters of the Vulcanello shipping company, the reports claimed. It was alleged that the ship’s hull had been repainted after the fishing vessel disappeared.

2006-built, Italy-flagged, 7,687 gt Vulcanello M is owned and managed by Augusta Due Srl of Rome, Italy. It is entered with Gard AS on behalf of Augusta De Srl.