NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
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A lawsuit is filed by the US Department of Justice to detain MOL's cruise ship.
By Sea and Coast | 07/03/2023
To recover damages for the collision of MOL's single cruise liner with the U.S. Navy fuel dock in Apra, Guam, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the Japanese shipping giant.
With 372 guests and 252 crew members, the Japanese-flagged cruise liner Nippon Maru sailed from Apra towards Saipan on December 30. She struck the Delta fuel pier for the US Navy as she was leaving the harbour. The Nippon Maru sustained a sizable hollow cavity her stern, above water, but no casualties or pollution were recorded. Also damaged was the fuel dock.
The Nippon Maru's master admitted to the National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) during an after-accident investigation that he had accidentally moved the joystick that controlled the ship's engines and steering wheel to the full astern position and left it there while attempting to pivot the vessel in the turning basin. In addition, he stated that he had consumed 1.5 cans of whiskey and soda 3–4 hours prior to the incident, as well as a beer 2–3 hours later.
About five hours after the disaster, the master's blood alcohol content (BAC) was measured at 0.071 g/dL, which was above corporate policy and U.S. Coast Guard restrictions. The NTSB concluded that he had probably ingested more liquor than he had admitted, and that alcohol-related impairment probably played a role in the crash.
To yet, negotiations between MOL and the U.S. government have been unsuccessful in their effort to come to an agreement about the dock damage. In an effort to raise $8 million to pay for the damage to the Apra pier, the US Department of Justice filed a petition with a federal court on Friday asking for an order directing the imprisonment and auction of Nippon Maru. The lawsuit claims that MOL and its staff members were negligent in enabling the Nippon Maru to collide with a fixed object, and it makes mention of the master's possible intoxication.
The lawsuit asks for a warrant so that the U.S. Marshals can look into the arrest, condemnation, and sale of Nippon Maru. The money would be used to pay for the fuel pier's repairs as well as interest, fees, and punitive damages.
Around 900 nautical miles north of Guam, on the Japanese outlying island of Chichijima, the Nippon Maru is presently anchored in the harbour. Her itinerary has mainly been comprised of Japanese coastal excursions in the post-COVID era. As the 1990-built ship ages, MOL's executives have declared plans to construct two substitutes and eventually decommission Nippon Maru.