Boat owner sues as ‘loose’ vessel struck his boat during Soudelor
A boat owner is suing two companies after a boat got loose and struck his moored vessel at the Port of Saipan during the height of Typhoon Soudelor last Aug. 2.
Frederick L. Nosek Jr., also known as Captain Fred, is suing Saipan Sea Ventures Inc. and Saipan USA Fisheries Inc. for negligence.
Nosek, through counsel Robert T. Torres, asked the Superior Court to hold Saipan Sea Ventures and Saipan USA Fisheries liable jointly liable to pay him $81,000 in compensatory damages, plus pre-judgment and post-judgment interests, attorney’s fees and court costs.
Saipan Tribune tried yesterday to get the side from the defendants but no one was available to comment from Saipan Sea Ventures. Saipan USA Fisheries is not listed in the phone directory.
According to Torres in the complaint, on April 19, 1996, Saipan Sea Ventures entered into a lease agreement with the Commonwealth Ports Authority for space at the Port of Saipan generally known as Delta Dock.
Torres said sometime before 2010, Saipan Sea Ventures entered into an agreement with Saipan USA Fisheries.
Under the agreement, Saipan USA Fisheries leased part of Saipan Sea Ventures’ interest in the leased premises to Saipan USA Fisheries for the purposes of docking the vessel Miss Saipan at the leased premises.
Saipan USA Fisheries owns the Miss Saipan boat. Nosek owns the Dolphin Quest vessel.
Torres said Miss Saipan remained docked at the leased premises for years prior to Aug. 2, 2015, when she came loose from it due to Typhoon Soudelor.
Torres said the effect of Soudelor was, among other things, caused the Miss Saipan to detach from its mooring and carried her out into the waters of the Port of Saipan and then drove her, bow first, into Delta Dock.
He said the current position of the Miss Saipan blocks entrance and egress of the Dolphin Quest boat from its docking location, which Nosek rents from CPA.
Torres said while loose due to Soudelor’s effects, Miss Saipan struck the moored Dolphin Quest before running aground on the dock.
The lawyer said prior to her coming loose as a result of Soudelor, the Miss Saipan had only standard dock rigging in place and had no storm rigging/offshore rigging in place.
Torres said the Miss Saipan was not manned during the time immediately prior to her coming loose of her riggings as a result of the typhoon.
Torres said neither Saipan Sea Ventures nor Saipan USA Fisheries had any staff or other personnel present at Delta Dock during the time immediately prior to the Miss Saipan coming loose of her riggings as a result of the typhoon.
Torres said prior to Aug. 2, 2015, both defendants knew that the Miss Saipan was unpowered, that it could not control itself, and that the Miss Saipan posed a danger to its surroundings and neighbors, particularly during times of inclement weather.
Torres said Nosek was present for the impact of Soudelor at the Port of Saipan, having rigged the Dolphin Quest with storm rigging, and was on watch at the dock when the Miss Saipan came loose and struck the Dolphin Quest.
That night, Torres said, Nosek witnessed the Miss Saipan strike the Dolphin Quest after the latter came loose from the dock.
Nosek also saw that the Miss Saipan only had standard rigging and no storm rigging/offshore rigging in place prior to coming loose. He also saw that there were no personnel on board the Miss Saipan prior to her coming loose and saw Saipan Sea Ventures staff leave the area hours prior to the Miss Saipan coming loose.
Following the impact of the Miss Saipan on the Dolphin Quest, Torres said Nosek and other personnel present were able to secure the Dolphin Quest to the dock.
Prior to the impact, Nosek utilized the Dolphin Quest in his tourism business.
Following the impact, Torres said, the Dolphin Quest has been unsafe for service and has been termed out of service pending repairs by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Dolphin Quest suffered severe damage both above and below the waterline due to the impact of the Miss Saipan.
Torres said an initial estimate of the cost of necessary repairs to return the Dolphin Quest to in service condition was $35,000.
An updated estimate of the total necessary repairs to the Dolphin Quest was $57,000.
He said the Dolphin Quest is currently being repaired with an anticipated completion date of end of April 2016.
Torres said the defendants breached their duty by not taking action to appropriately secure the Miss Saipan to the leased premises in preparation for the impact of Soudelor, or to otherwise see that Miss Saipan was appropriately secured or kept safe.