Sep 272010

Map pictureA collision between the 81,000 gross tonnes Panama-flagged Royal Oasis and the anchored Berge Atlantic at Port Talbot, Wales, shows some familiar memes yet to learned.As Royal Oasis left her deepwater anchorage to embark a pilot at a pilot station to enter Port Talbot Harbour she encountered a strong 3 knot tidal stream and collided with Berg Atlantic causing extensive structural damage to both vessels.

A preliminary report by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, says the passage plan and the pre-departure briefing aboard Royal Oasis did not cover the potential effects of the tidal stream on the turning performance , pre-departure checklists had not been used for testing equipment, and emergency procedures in the safety management system were difficult to use and not readily available.

Action taken:

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has made a recommendation to the operators of Royal Oasis highlighting the deficiencies found in the safety management system and navigational procedures. Associated British Ports (South Wales) has worked with local shipping agents to include warnings about the strength of tidal streams in pre-arrival notices to ships. It is also investigating ways of highlighting tidal information in hydrographic publications.

Says MAC: This appears to be an example of the nautical equivalent of short-trip syndrome found in many road accidents: “We’re only going a mile down the road so we don’t need to put on safety belts and check brakes and steering”. Wrong.

Perhaps a seafarer version of “clunk, click, every trip” is needed.


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