3PB Barrister Sunyana Sharma secures a successful conviction for the Maritime Coastguard Agency

3PB Barrister Sunyana Sharma secures a conviction and sentence for the Maritime Coastguard Agency against the Master, Daniel Wakefield and the Company, London Party Boats Ltd following a collision of the vessel ‘Jewel of London’, a passenger class V vessel on the River Thames.

On 13 December 2018 the ‘Jewel of London’ collided with the Marine Policing Unit pontoon in Wapping when the Master of the vessel fell asleep at the wheel after passengers had disembarked at Canary Wharf. At the time, there was no dedicated lookout in the wheelhouse which was a requirement of the vessel’s Passenger Safety Certificate. When Mr Wakefield reversed away from the pontoon, he backed into a moored up police vessel causing further damage.

The collision caused such considerable damage to the pontoon that the lift that hoists boats in and out of the water is now unsafe to use. Total losses are estimated between £1.25 million and £1.6 million which includes investigations and repair to the pontoon and consequential costs affecting the maintenance to Wapping Marine Unit’s ageing fleet which relied on the pontoon’s lift to take boats in and out of the water. Wakefield pleaded guilty to s.58 of Merchant Shipping Act 1995 for conduct endangering ships, structures and individuals and London Party Boats Ltd pleaded guilty to s.100(1) of Merchant Shipping Act 1995 for operating an unsafe ship.

On 24 January 2020, Mr Wakefield was sentenced to a fine of  £1120 and ordered to pay costs of £1200 and London Party Boats Ltd was fined £5000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,225.’