There is piracy and there is piracy

This week, four foreign vessels, which called Ageciras, were fined by Spanish authorities. Container ship CELINA STAR and chemical tanker UACC SHAMS were obliged to deposit 50,000 euro each for an accident, which took place on Nov 20. The above mentioned vessels collided on Algeciras anchorage, suffering minor damages. There was no leak, traffic and safety of other vessels weren’t compromised. Vessels were fined for breaching Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
Turkish container ship KAAN KALVAKAN had to deposit 20,000 euro after routine PSC inspection found some deficiencies on board.
COSCO’s bulk carrier HONG SHEN (IMO 9563627) had to deposit 12,000 euro for violating fuel sulfur content limit.
Now, the question is, how widespread is such practice of imposing fines for accidents and deficiencies, or is it practiced by Spain only? Several years ago there were rumors, that Spanish government, not officially of course, encouraged maritime authorities to fine vessels as much as possible, to help limping economy.
Is such practice legal? HONG SHEN was fined for air pollution, it seems to be at least legal. But what about other cases? There’s no vessel in the world, which is 100 percent perfect in all respects. Detention is a punishment in itself, isn’t it? If Spain starts imposing fines for each and every deficiency it finds, whether real or concocted, Spain economy will soon lead if not the world, then EU for sure.
And what about imposing fines for collisions, for any collisions, whether there were any collateral damages and pollutions, or no? What about waters beyond States’ borders, who’ll profit from collisions which occur on high seas? Will nations divide oceans into nations’ zones of interest, in order to fine for collision which occur far off in the oceans, so that no potential profit would be lost?
What’s the difference between piracy as we know it, and State-running piracy, except that the former is criminal, and latter legal, in relation to ship owners?
Or maybe, those deposits will be returned to owners?
Voytenko Mikhail
November 25, 2016

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