Grounded ship’s captain sent to jail

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The captain of a Chinese bulker that grounded off the Telemark coast last summer and set off Norway’s worst oil spill ever has been sentenced to six month in jail, with four months suspended. His first mate faces 21 days in jail.

The grounding of the "Full City" set off Norway's worst oil spill ever, which has cost NOK 250 million to clean up. PHOTO: Kystverket

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Monday that a local court in Telemark found the Chinese captain guilty of breaking both maritime safety laws and anti-pollution laws.

The court acquitted the first mate (styrmannen) of safety violations but found him guilty of violating the pollution laws. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, with 39 of the days suspended.

Their vessel Full City was waiting to take on a cargo in Porsgrunn when it grounded in a sudden, severe storm during the night of July 30. The grounding pierced the vessel and released heavy bunker oil into the sea, which ended up fouling the coastline all the way south to Arendal and Grimstad.

Both officers of the vessel controlled by COSCO of China had pleaded innocent. Prosecutors had sought a six-month jail term for the captain and three months for the first mate, claiming negligence in their handling of the vessel in stormy seas.

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