Largest Award Ever for Marine Damage

The $2.25 million payment to the U.S. on behalf of the MBNMS will be made by the owners and operators of the Med Taipei, a foreign-flagged containership. The agreement was made between All Oceans Transportation, Inc., Italia Marritema SpA and Yang Ming Transport Corp. – the owners and operators – and the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Commerce (DOT).

In February 2004, in rough seas, on a transit from San Francisco to Los Angeles the Med Taipei had 15 40-foot containers fall overboard. The DOT describes their contents as including “furniture, thousands of tires, several hundred thousand plastic items, miles of cyclone fencing, hospital beds, wheel chairs, recycled cardboard and clothing items.”

A U.S. Coast Guard report listed findings that the containers weren’t properly loaded on board the vessel, there were faulty welds at anchor point for the containers and there were missing D-rings from the deck of the ship.

While pointing out the importance of immediately reporting any lost cargo, William Douros, Acting West Coast Regional Superintendent for the National Marine Sanctuary Program, also warns that, “It is important for shipping companies to execute due diligence when carrying cargo through national marine sanctuaries, as they will be expected to correct any damages that occur from their operations.”

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