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Saturday, October 20, 2018


The Norwegian Maritime Directorate (NMD) released on 6 July 2000 a report outlining its own investigations into the sinking of the bulk carrier Leros Strength.

According to the NMD, the report may be regarded as a supplement to the official report of the Ministry of Communication and Works, Department of Merchant Shipping, Cyprus which is the Flag State.

Twenty persons lost their lives on 8 February 1997, when the Leros Strength, a vessel built in 1976, sank 30 nautical miles south west of Stavanger, on her way from Murmansk to Poland, immediately after her Master transmitted a distress message saying that the bow of the vessel had submerged. The vessel was loaded with 18,180 tonnes of apatite.

INTERTANKO has been following the general apparent lack of industry focus regarding the cause of this accident involving loss of life in comparison to the almost daily media discussion on the consequences and causes of the Erika accident.  In this respect, INTERTANKO applauds the extensive work carried out by the Norwegian Maritime Directorate (NMD) in connection with the accident investigation.

The report has been based on a very thorough investigation through underwater inspections of the wreck carried out by the NMD in collaboration with the Cyprus authorities.  The investigation also includes the examination of the vessel’s survey documentation. The report questions once again important classification issues such as surveys and the transfer of class procedures and provides the following recommendations:

Survey reporting needs to be significantly improved

The principle of ‘negative reporting only’ should be generally banned from survey reporting

Standard terminology for reporting should be agreed and made mandatory

The possibilities for splitting up a given survey between different survey stations should be restricted

Repairs of items relevant for structural integrity should always be planned beforehand in co-operation with the classification society

No deferral of repairs previously required by a surveyor should be allowed, unless so decided by the Head Office

3 months extension of the five-year period for continuous trading is not permitted according to the SOLAS Convention, and must be banned in practice

Renewed consideration should be given to the length limit for SOLAS Ch. XII (presently 150 m) so as to make these requirements applicable also for bulk carriers similar to Leros Strength

Consideration should be given to requiring more than one surveyor to carry out Special Survey for ships above a certain age; alternatively requiring supervision of parts of this survey by a surveyor from the Flag State itself

No transfer of class should be allowed until the losing society has confirmed that all outstanding recommendations have been rectified

When a periodical survey is due, no transfer of class should be allowed until the complete survey has been carried out by the losing society with satisfactory results.

For a full copy of the report, please contact