What’s that screw doing? Seems to be a good question to ask, to judge by a recent incident report from Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation into an injury to a seafarer aboard the tug Bugsier 11.
To cut to the chase, Bugsier was servicing a bulk carrier, Cenanur Cebu. A line was secured aboard the tug. The line, now secured to a winch on the tug, sank under the water and a message was sent to the bulker not to start its main engines, which was acknowledged.
Unknown to those aboard the tug, Cenanur Cebi had controllable pitch propeller which was set to zero but still rotating. The sunken line wrapped itself around the propeller and pulled the line off the tug winch. As it came free it hit the leg of one of the crew causing a severe injury.
In part, at least, the incident occurred because of poor communications between Bugsier and Cenanur Cebi. The latter didn’t tell the tug about the controllable pitch propeller, nor did the pilot then aboard and the tug didn’t ask.