It’s the little things that catch you out. On the Shell-managed, Australia-flagged liquefied natural gas, LNG, tanker Northwest Stormpetrel the cargo engineer followed the rules as he checked the LNG forcing vaporiser’s steam trap to resolve drainage issues but thanks to a missing safety clip still got a painful face-full of steam that required him to be evacuated from the ship for treatment says a report from Australia’s Transport Safety Bureau, ATSB.
One might be forgiven for believing that controllable pitch propeller systems are the illegitimate children of HAL, from the science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, with a dangerously psychotic mindset all their own. Take the grounding of the Cyprus-flagged MV Merita at Steubenhöft in Cuxhaven.
Germany’s Bundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchung, Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, tells the tale of a disobedient vessel caused by the failure of a worn coupling in the wrong time and place:
When the esteemed Denis Bryant says: “This incident was the result of too many errors and failures and misadventures, including an unfortunately timed potty break, to easily summarize. I highly recommend reading the report in full” you can be sure that the report, in this case the US National Transportation Safety board’s report on the contact between the fishing boat American Dynasty and the Canadian warship HMCS Winnipeg, is worth reading.
At about midnight on the evening of 7/8 July 2014 the ro-ro ferry Stena Nautica with 155 passengers onboard suddenly decided it wanted to go hard starboard while departing from Grenaa Port, Denmark. Since she had not cleared the breakwater the result was a contact incident which put holes in her hull below the waterline and much denting. No-one was hurt but to go by the accident investigation by Denmark’s Maritime Accident Investigation Board, DMAIB, it appears to have been another design-assisted accident.
Crushing incidents have a particular sense of horror all of their own that needs no description. In the case of the fitter aboard the Bahamas-registered cruise ship Seven Seas Voyager he was left with serious injuries when a supposedly isolated ash dump valve closed on him, leading to hospitalisation for serious bruising and shock. He returned to the ship on light duties but two days later but continued to suffer from the effects of the incident and was discharged from the ship to recuperate at home for ten days.
Voyage aboard a sail training vessel should be a challenging, life-affirming experience but too often cost-cutting and tap-dancing around safety provisions result in loss and tragedy. Such appears to have been the case with the grounding and write-off of the Sail Trainong Vessel Astrid off Ireland’s southern coast, the investigation report of which has been released by the Eire Marine Casualty Investigation Board, MCIB.
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The Case of the Fall From Grace
If you don’t look after your lifeboat
it won’t look after you
Three men lay more than a hundred yards from the thick torn metal that once covered the top forward ballast tank, they were dead.
In the gathering darkness, in the roughening seas around the ship, the bodies of four other men were being carried away on the current, three of them never to be found. Inside the gray powder-coated ballast tank, burned and injured one man lived. He would not survive his injuries.
The last sound he heard, if he heard it, before the massive explosion may have been the quiet pop of a light-bulb breaking…
TSB’s report on the contact and grounding incident involving the general cargo vessel Claude A. Desgagnes as it entered Iroquois Lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway, is a tale of sticky decisions, poor communications and whose-in-charge confusion. One lesson is that once you’ve made a decision, keep in constantly under review.
Here’s the short version:
As the vessel proceeded downriver, the master and pilot spoke, but did not develop a shared understanding of the manoeuvre to be used in the approach to the Iroquois Lock. While the pilot had explained his plan to dredge the anchor to the officer of the watch (OOW) earlier in the voyage, the details of the plan were not relayed to the master when he arrived on the bridge.