Martin’s Marine Engineering Page – www.dieselduck.net has suspended access to the main website, and The Common Rail forum area, from December 10th to December 13th, 2008, to show support for the two merchant marine officers of the VLCC Hebei Spirit.
On December 10th, 2008, the Captain and Chief Officer of the tanker Hebei Spirit, were ordered jailed by the government of Korea.
A large crane barge, operated by Samsung (Korea’s largest corporation), was out of control, collided, and holed the fully laden Hebei Spirit, which was at anchor at the time, causing the largest oil spill in Korean History.
I urge you to read more about the events and this extreme, and unjust criminalization of seafarers by the Korean government.
Webmaster and Licensed Marine Engineer
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Hebei Spirit officers face prison sentence
10 December 2008, ITF
Officers from the Hebei Spirit have been sentenced to prison by a South Korean court for alleged criminal negligence. Captain Jasprit Chawla and Chief Officer Syam Chetan were sentenced to 1.5 years and 8 months imprisonment respectively, despite being previously being cleared of all charges.
ITF Maritime Coordinator Stephen Cotton commented: “This is not justice. It’s not even something close. What we have seen today is scapegoating, criminalisation and a refusal to consider the wider body of evidence that calls into question the propriety of the court. This decision is incomprehensibly vindictive and will impact on all professional mariners.”
In December 2007, the (anchored) Hebei Spirit was hit by a Samsung Heavy Industries-owned barge, causing an oil spill. Since then, the officers have been unfairly detained in South Korea.
ITF affiliates campaigned for the release of the Hebei Two in the run-up to the decision, lobbying the Korean authorities.
The ITF continues to work on behalf of the officers: “The one thing we can promise today is that this isn’t over,” said Stephen Cotton. “The campaign to free these men will go on growing until the justice that was so glaringly absent in this court today is done.”
The Federation is calling upon union members and supporters to send letters to the Korean authorities expressing concern at the case – act now to join the protest.
For more information and background on the case see: www.itfglobal.org/campaigns/hebeitwo.cfm