Jan 252009

On 31 January 2008 the German-registered double-ended Scandlines ferry Schleswig-Holstein made contact with the Skanseodde lighthouse while leaving the floating dock at Fredericia, Denmark, while creating a lee for a pilotboat to enable to pilot to disembark. Severe damage was caused to the ferry and the latticework of the lighthouse.

At the time if departure from the floating dock, with tug assistance, there was a south-southwest to south wind  of 22-17 knots gusting to 21 knots to 24 knots, (Beaufort 6-7 gusting Beaufort 9), a 1.5 knot to 3 knot current setting to the northeast, and an estimated wave height of 2 metres. Visibility was limited by rain and sleet.

MAC notes: Two masters were onboard, both, according to the flag state report requested information on currents from the pilot but it was not given: The pilot considered that the vessel’s four pod drives would overcome any problem caused by the currents. There was no exchange of vessel manoeuvring characteristics. This is a familiar situation in almost all incidents with a pilot aboard.

The ferry left the floating dock assisted by tugs and the tugs were then disengaged. The ferry drifted northeast and closed on the Kastelhavn pier. Manoeuvring stations aboard the ferry did not communicate distances and so forth to the bridge. There was no lookout. The tugs attempted to alert the ferry on VHF 13 after which the ferry was seen to manoeuvre hard to the southeast using its pod drives. The Master, alone on the con, was not using AIS or ECDIS.

MAC notes: With poor visibility, no dedicated lookout, no position advice from the manoveuring stations and no radar in use, until 1729, at that time to prevent  hazard to dockworkers, and relatively poor visibility, and dying ambient light, the level of situational awareness on the bridge must have been low.

The vessel continued to drift parallel to the port’s oil pier. At this time the master on the con was controlling the pod drives using two wheels and attempting to navigate by sight at the same time, with the pilot present. Meanwhile the second master was preparing paperwork, communicating be radio with the manoeuvering stations, and preparing to disembark the pilot, who left the bridge at 1738.

To enable the pilot to disembark, the master on the con reduced speed. The pilot asked the second officer to make more lee.

Three monitors were on the bridge. One showed the ship’s technical data, S band radar was displayed on a second monitor will the monitor used for the X band radar, which was still switched off, showed only the AIS targets. Although the vessel has ECDIS, this was not in use.

Skanseodde lighthouse racon was not visible on the S-band radar.

There appears to have been confusion between lights from the lighthouse and other lights ashore.

At 1742 the ferry ran aground, holing her hull, flooding part of the engine room.

The full report can be downloaded here:

BSU Report


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