bobcouttie

Apr 192014
 
isamar

MY Isamar

Fortunately no lives were lost when the 24 metre motor yacht Isamar struck the charted the Grand écueil d’Olmeto shoal but poor seamanship sank the rather pretty vessel. One suspects that each of the actions or inactions that led to the casualty seemed like a good idea at the time even if they conflicted with good advice at the time.

That the UK-registered vessel had its radar switched off might not have contributed to the loss but the fact that the echosounder – fathomometer for American readers – was switched on but had no shallow water alarm set might well have done.

It might not have mattered that the Electronic Chart System, ECS, had not been updated for 10 years, while indicating a certain laxity with regard to safe navigation, but the fact that it was used for primary navigation when paper charts are advised when using such a system, and set to a scale that did not reveal that there was a reef in the way, certainly did.

No waypoints or course marks were set on the ECS. After all, the captain had a pair of mark one eyeballs.

There are good reasons why an ECS is not recommended for primary navigation. In Isamar‘s case even at the scale which showed the shoal there were no depth indications.

Continue reading »

Apr 182014
 

greaseGreasing palms is not unknown in the maritime industry but greasing a little finger is somewhat rarer. Although this warning from Marine Safety Forum, MSF concerns a non-maritime incident there may still be the potential for it.

The operator was using a handheld grease gun to lubricate various grease points on earth-moving plant when he felt a sharp prick to his right little finger and on inspection noticed a small hole. On squeezing the finger about a teaspoon of grease was ejected.

He had not been wearing gloves.

Medical attention was sought resulting in a lengthy operation and removal of a vein in the forearm. This was replaced with an artificial vein.

MSF says: “At this time the operation appears successful however constant medical monitoring and surgery care is paramount to a successful rehabilitation.” Continue reading »

Apr 172014
 
ntsbseastreak

NTSB Investigators Morgan Turrell and Christopher Babcock examine propulsion and steering controls on the bridge of Seastreak Wall Street.

By the time the captain of Seastreak Wall Street realised he’d lost control of the vessel it was too late to prevent the vessel colliding with a Manhattan pier at about 12 knots on the morning of January 9, 2013. Of the 331 people on board, 79 passengers and one crewmember were injured, four of them seriously, in the third significant ferry accident to occur in the New York Harbor area in the last 10 years.

The intended maneouvre was a common one among those commanding the Seastreak fleet: Reduce speed and transfer control from one bridge station to another better visibility less than a minute before reaching Pier 11/Wall Street on the East River. However, it left little opportunity to correct a loss of control at a critical moment.

The incident had been waiting to happen since July 2012 when a controllable pitch propulsion system was installed to replace the existing water-jet propulsion along with a poorly designed control panel and alert system, “The available visual and audible cues to indicate mode and control transfer status were ambiguous” says the NTSB. Continue reading »

Apr 162014
 

fireextWill your handheld fire extinguisher go off with a satisfying, throaty whoosh when it’s needed or will you be greeted by a rather disappointing, geriatric dribble? It might if the fire extinguisher is getting on a bit and has been serviced with the wrong components suggests a United States Coastguard safety alert.

Issued this month the alert says: During a fire-fighting event, a crewmember attempted to use a 15 lb CO2 extinguisher,
but the extinguisher failed to properly discharge and only seeped from the neck of the extinguisher.
The fire was extinguished by another crewmember using a dry-chemical fire extinguisher.”

Continue reading »

Apr 162014
 

ChristosXXIIPerhaps there are times to save money on hiring a pilot in unfamiliar waters but this was not one of them. The master of the Greek-registered tug Christos XXII had little experience in tidal waters and his company procedures were of little help when he decided to save on pilotage by anchoring in the tidal waters outside Tor Bay to investigate a dangerous list in the towed vessel Emsstrom, to judge by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Board report on the subsequent collision between tug and tow.

The result of the money-saving measurese and lack of appropriate company procedures was the sinking of the Emsstrom and the holing and flooding of Christos XXII. And a lot more expense. Continue reading »

Apr 152014
 

wellhead

Fire and a fatality following the ejection of a gland nut and lockscrew assembly from a wellhead while under pressure shortly before starting tubing installation has highlighted the need to ensure manufacturers procedures are always followed suggests a safety alert from the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers.

Lockscrews are commonly used in surface wellhead equipment to mechanically energize or retain internal wellhead components. Lockscrews are not standardized across the industry, so manufacturers’ procedures should always be used for operations that may require manipulation of lockscrews. Work involving gland nut and lockscrew assemblies should be done under the supervision of qualified service personnel from the wellhead equipment provider who have access to the operational procedures, key dimensions, and torque ratings necessary for correct use.

Operators should consider working with their wellhead equipment and service providers to validate the integrity of gland nut and lockscrew assemblies that are exposed to wellbore pressure in the field by taking the following steps: Continue reading »

Apr 142014
 

DMADenmark’s Maritime Authority, DMA, invites shipping companies’ employees on land and on board ships to meetings about Port State Control, PSC, to enhance safety on board at a series of meetings to be held in May

Says DMA: “The meetings will provide an opportunity to share experiences of Port State Control, for example best practice examples of how a company can improve safety and, thereby, avoid defects and detentions and of how the land-based organization can best support its crew during Port State Control inspections. Continue reading »

Apr 142014
 

UntitledToday marks 102 years since the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg at night and sank three hours later. It seems an appropriate moment for MAC to return to the fray from its extended sabbatical and review the relevant lessons for today’s seafarers but the estimable Dennis L. Bryant does it so well that we’re taking the liberty of quoting his latest newsletter:

Late on the night of 14 April 1912, the “unsinkable” passenger ship RMS Titanic, on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, struck an iceberg.  It sank about three hours later, at about 2:20 a.m. on 15 April 1912.  Of the 2,224 persons on board, 1,514 lost their lives. 

In the century that followed, ships are better-constructed.  They carry more lifeboat capacity than there are persons on board.  They have radios for instant communication with shore and with other ships.  They have radar, fathometers, and other devices to warn of danger.  Continue reading »

Mar 022013
 
A still from Lifejacket:

A still from Lifejacket: A Fisherman’s Friend

Two Bridlington fishermen have made a short film to encourage their fellow fishermen to wear lifejackets whilst at sea. The two minute film, entitled “Lifejacket: a fisherman’s friend” is available on Youtube and may be watched below.

The decision to make the film came after a panel of experts* concluded that 26 fishermen could still be alive today had they been wearing a lifejacket when they were involved in an incident at sea (2007-11 figures). The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), were so alarmed by the new statistic that they put the idea of a short film forward to fishermen Dylan Silverwood and Christopher Stewart. They then made the film, with some help from FISG members. Continue reading »