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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 19:03 GMT
Mulheim owners admit breaking law
RMS Mulheim
The vessel has been left to break up on the Cornish coast
The owners of a ship which ran aground near Land's End have been fined after admitting breaking shipping rules.

The RMS Mulheim hit rocks at Sennen Cove in March 2003. Much of its waste plastic cargo was washed onto beaches.

Representatives of Rhein-maas Shipping appeared before magistrates in Camborne on Thursday and were ordered to pay 20,000 in fines and 22,000 in costs.

The fines also covered other charges involving the master of another ship, RMS Ratingen, being asleep on watch.

Snagged trousers

The RMS Mulheim was carrying 2,200 tonnes of shredded plastic when she was beached.

Hundreds of tonnes of the cargo, destined for a landfill site in Germany, escaped into the sea after she ran aground en route from Ireland.

The vessel hit rocks when the watch officer on the bridge snagged his trousers on a chair, fell over and knocked himself unconscious.

All six members of the crew were lifted to safety but attempts to salvage the ship were eventually abandoned. The wreck of ship remains on the rocks near Sennen Cove.

Despite a massive salvage operation costing nearly 2m, much of the cargo spilled into the sea, prompting a huge clean-up operation, and calls for safeguards to prevent such an incident happening again.

Night watch

The prosecution at Camborne Magistrates Court was brought by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The Mulheim's owners pleaded guilty to a number of charges under the Shipping Act, including breaking rules which state two crew members must be on watch during the hours of darkness.

The company also admitted similar charges involving another ship, the RMS Ratingen, which was approaching Shoreham when the master was found asleep.

The shipping company admitted breaking collision regulations and the International Safety Management code.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the verdict was a message to ship owners and managers that "bridges should be manned properly and correctly at all times."

Coast threat 'shipwreck' protest
24 Mar 04 |  Cornwall
Clear-up for Mulheim costs 2m
21 Mar 04 |  Cornwall
Weather breaks up Mulheim
01 Nov 03 |  Cornwall
Ship break-up poses danger
08 Oct 03 |  Cornwall
Kodima lessons 'must be learned'
29 Aug 03 |  Cornwall
Inquiry call into Mulheim
15 Apr 03 |  Cornwall

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