The German owners of a cargo ship that was so overloaded that her Plimsoll and Load Line marks were not visible were fined more than £28,000 after pleading guilty at Southampton Magistrates Court on Feb 9.
The Antigua and Barbuda registered cargo ship Katja, 9,000dwt, had arrived in the River Mersey laden with rock salt from the St Lawrence Seaway in November, 2010. The ship was said to have loaded to her marks and sailed from Goderich to arrive at the Manchester Ship Canal on Nov 23. Rock salt was in high demand to treat UK roads during the bad winter at this time.
As the ship entered the River Mersey, the pilot on another passing vessel noticed that the Plimsoll Line and Load Lines were not visible and the vessel appeared very low in the water.
When the ship arrived in the Queen Elizabeth II Dock, she was inspected by Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) port state control officers who found that the Load Line, which marks the safety limit of the ship, was submerged by 39.5cm.