In a report released on 13th December, it was confirmed that over 10% of the crew aboard the P&O Ferries Pride of Canterbury had failed a random drugs test. The company had conducted the test on all crew during a regular scheduled service from Dover to Calais, when it was found that 13 members failed the urine tests. The results have been sent off for further analysis, and depending on the outcome, the crew members face disciplinary action.
P&O Ferries confirmed in a statement that they had zero tolerance to drugs, and that individuals were likely to be dismissed. They had also notified the Kent Police based at Dover. At present there is no word on what drugs were involved, or whether they had been consumed while at work or were residual traces in their system. No drugs were found aboard the ferry.
A bulk carrier, mv Antaios, was abandoned by the crew in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of South Africa, after a serious fire in the engine room. The crew of 19 were later rescued from their lifeboats by the Japanese ore carrier Nsu Inspire, which had diverted to the scene when it picked up the distress calls. They were later taken to Cape Town.
It was confirmed on 7th December that the Smit salvage tug, Smit Amandla, had managed to get a line aboard the stricken vessel, and was attempting to get it under tow. A distress call had been put out by the captain after the fire broke out and the engine room flooded, leaving the vessel helpless.
The vessel had loaded with grain, soya flour and corn in Argentina and was heading for Saudi Arabia when the fire broke out. The captain ordered the crew to abandon the ship when the flooding became uncontrollable.
However, the South African Maritime Safety Authority, which was monitoring the salvage, issued a notice prohibiting it from coming within 30 miles of the South African coast until all fuel oil aboard had been removed, for fear of a spillage. An extra tug, Peridot, was sent out with a specialist team to assist with the transfer of the fuel, and to help with pumping out the flooded areas. SAMSA was continuing to monitor operations.