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Ship's captain failed to report leak, charges say


The captain of a Norwegian tanker failed to tell the Coast Guard that his ship was in dangerous condition as it came into Baltimore on March 22, even though there was a leak in the engine room and the ship was taking on water, federal investigators charged in papers unsealed yesterday.

Frightened crew members slipped a note about the danger to Coast Guard inspectors, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

The ship's captain, Davor Maric of Croatia, is charged with failing to report dangerous conditions and making false statements to the Coast Guard.

U.S. Magistrate Susan K. Gauvey ordered Maric to post a $30,000 cash bond and the ship's owners and operator to sign a $90,000 surety to ensure Maric's appearance in court.

Two days before the ship arrived in Baltimore, Maric telexed a message to the ship's operator, the Progress company in Denmark, warning that the leak might be discovered by U.S. inspectors, according to an affidavit sworn to by Coast Guard Special Agent Patrick S. Donnelly.

Progress replied that the leak would be repaired after the ship completed its trip in Tampa, Fla., the affidavit said.

Progress also said a temporary patch on the leak was not to be reported, according to the affidavit.

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