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Captain and pilot sentenced for City of Rotterdam collision

Credit: UK MAIB

The pilot and the captain of the car carrier ‘City of Rotterdam’, which collided with a ferry in December 2015, in the River Humber, have received suspended sentences of four months in prison each, according to UK MCA.

Gehan Sirimanne, marine pilot, now retired, and Ruslan Uromov, former captain, were sentenced to four months, suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty to offences in connection with the accident at Hull Crown Court, on 8 November.

Ruslan Uromov was charged with conduct endangering ships, structures or individuals, and was ordered to pay £750, while Gehan Sirimanne was charged with misconduct by pilot endangering ship and ordered to pay £45,000.

On 3 December 2015, the Panama-registered car carrier was to be navigated along the River Humber to the mouth of the river, where full control was then to be handed over to the captain Ruslan Urumov to take the vessel to sea. ‘Storm Desmond’ had been forecast earlier in the day and strong winds were likely to affect that area bringing its own hazards to navigation that evening.

Humber Vessel Tracking Service (VTS) monitored the City of Rotterdam track which showed that she was straying into the north side of the shipping channel and into the Hawke Anchorage.  Her passage was also into the track of vessels travelling west along the Humber. The Primula Seaways was one of those vessels travelling inward along the channel.

Despite alerts from VTS and the captain of the Primula Seaways, the City of Rotterdam continued its passage along the wrong side of the shipping lane, resulting in a head-on collision. Although no injuries were reported, both vessels sustained major damage.

Michael Groark, surveyor in charge for the UK Maritime & Coastguard’s Hull office said: ‘This shows that the rules are there for a reason. It was a serious collision which could have resulted in serious injury. Both of these men ignored several alerts warning them they were on the wrong track and put not only themselves but others using the channel correctly, at risk.’

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