The International Salvage Union (ISU) has issued a statement criticizing the decision of a Pakistani Court, taken late in October, to continue the detention of Nicholas Pappas, the salvage master involved in the Tasman Spirit operation.
According to the ISU, the attitude of the Pakistani authorities in the Tasman Spirit case has been unhelpful and, in some cases, obstructive. The salvage team put in every effort to minimize pollution damage while recovering 38,000 tons of oil says the salvage union. In return, the authorities have placed restrictions on the movement of salvage vessels and equipment and now refuse to return the Salvage Master’s passport. The court refused to allow Pappas to return to Greece to attend a family funeral.
With these actions, the ISU contend unjust and negative consequences. ISU says members may be reluctant to provide assistance, should another major pollution threat arise in Pakistani waters. Secondly, the Tasman Spirit situation reinforces an unwelcome trend towards criminalization of spill events
, - a process, the ISU says, that will make it increasingly difficult for salvors to respond in certain jurisdictions. And finally, the treatment of the salvage master reminds ISU members that salvors, as front-line responders, are vulnerable.