French police put crew of collision ship on wanted list - Ships Nostalgia

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French police put crew of collision ship on wanted list

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Old 18th September 2007, 10:39
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French police put crew of collision ship on wanted list

French police put crew of collision ship on wanted list

FRENCH police are still hunting for a shipmaster and two crew members who have disappeared from a vessel that is being held in the port of Brest, following a fatal collision with a fishing vessel last month.

Brest prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said that the three men had been put on the police’s wanted persons list but declined to comment on a local press report that they had already returned to their native Azerbaijan.

The master, first officer and another seafarer were reported missing on Friday. They had been aboard the 1,384 gt Ocean Jasper since it arrived in Brest following a collision with the French fishing vessel Sokalique in the early hours of August 17.

Six members of the crew of the Sokalique survived the accident but the skipper, Bernard Jobard, lost his life.

The prosecutor in charge of the case said recently that there were strong grounds for thinking that the Ocean Jasper had fled the scene and failed to assist the fishermen following the sinking of their vessel.

The three men who have gone missing were not under arrest and Mr Tarabeux said that they had the right, like other seafarers calling at the port, to circulate in Brest. He added, however, that they would be committing an offence if they sought to leave the city.

The master had been reported to be taking his vessel’s detention badly. A French seafarers’ union had indicated that it was concerned for the vessel’s crew because the master was failing to provide food for them.

News of the disappearance of the three seafarers was greeted with anger among Breton fishermen.

The dead skipper’s wife said that their disappearance was a “scandal”, adding in a reference to the vessel’s alleged attempt at flight after the accident, that it was the second time the master had tried to make his escape.

A seafarers’ union in Brest branded the master a “deserter” and called for the withdrawal of his licence, claiming that he had tarnished the reputation of his fellow shipmasters.

It called on the French authorities to press the Ocean Jasper’s Turkish manager, Onurhan Denizcilik, to assign another master and crew members to the vessel within 48 hours.

France wants to try the master and other crew members but is waiting for the Ocean Jasper’s flag state Kiribati to indicate whether or not it intends to exercise its prerogative to prosecute.

Article from Lloyd's List:
Andrew Spurrier - Tuesday 18 September 2007
Published: 18/09/2007 GMT

© 2007 Informa plc.
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