Friday, January 16, 2015

Young Bros. Sues Ex-Tug Capt. Over Grounding

By Mark Edward Nero

Hawaii-based freight handling and transportation company Young Brothers Ltd. has filed a lawsuit against the captain and first mate on one of its tugboats, alleging that the first mate’s inebriation led to the grounding of a tug and barge last Halloween.

The company, which is a subsidiary of Seattle-based Foss Maritime, filed the suit Jan. 7 in US District Court. It alleges that the captain of the tug Moana Holo knew that the first mate was drunk but still sailed out of Nawiliwili Harbor on Oct. 31, 2014. The tug and the barge Maka’ala became separated and struck a breakwater. Maka’ala’s hull was damaged and it lost a 30-by-15-foot skeg; the Moana Holo suffered a breach to its hull.

According to the lawsuit, members of the 10-person crew were ordered to take an alcohol test immediately after, but did not take the tests as required.

The captain and first mate were subsequently fired by the company, but thus far no criminal charges have been pursued against them.

The US Coast Guard says it cannot comment on the matter because it is still investigating the incident. Young Brothers also would not comment other than in a statement it issued Jan. 8.

“We are not able to comment on this pending lawsuit related to the incident at Nawiliwili Harbor last October,” Young Brothers Vice President Roy Catalani said in the prepared statement. “However, Young Brothers regrets that this incident occurred. We’re also grateful that no employees were injured, no customer cargo was lost or damaged, and no fuel or oil leaked from our vessels.”
Young Brothers has so far declined to state the amount of damages it is seeking from the two defendants.