Nov 242014
 
bowmariner1

This week the first of a two parter on the explosion aboard the chemical tanker Bow Mariner 


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…90 minutes after Third Officer Lugen Ortilano sent that distress call, the 174 metre long chemical tanker Bow Mariner was 77 metres down on the bottom of the Atlantic, 53.5 nautical miles off the Virginia coast. Twenty one of her 27 crew were dead or dying. More than thirteen and a half million litres of ethyl alcohol, 864 thousand litres of heavy fuel oil and 216 thousand litres of diesel had entered the ecosystem leaving a trail of pollution two and a half kilometres by 56 kilometres.

The Bow Mariner and three quarters of her crew met their end because of mismanagement, ignorance, incompetence, intolerance and fraud.

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Nov 202014
 
FVliberty

Sooner or later the chances were that someone was going to be killed aboard the 13.32 metre Irish registered FV Liberty. Given the long list of safety issues uncovered by Ireland’s Marine Casualty Investigation Board, MCIB, and the fact that an earlier incident involving an injury went unreported so the conditions that resulted in the death of a seafarer on 14 February 2013 went undetected, tragedy was inevitable and preventable.

In port at Dunmore East prior to the voyage, one of the trawl nets on the vessel, supplied by the owner, was swapped for a used net supplied by the skipper. The skipper’s net had been kept in storage and had not been used since October 2012. The net was apparently changed because
it was deemed to be more suitable for the intended fishing grounds  where the vessel was going to fish. Continue reading »

Nov 172014
 
ffg

If you don’t look after your lifeboat

It won’t look after you

We want to adapt this for a seven minute video and mobile app to be distributed free of charge to seafarers. PSC surveys to hand out or show during their visits, shipping companies to their fleets, P&I Clubs to their members, seafarers organisations to their members. Video will undoubtedly be more effective at getting the messages across, however, it does cost a lot more to make to a professional standard. We need to raise a modest $5,000 to cover the cost of producing the video. If you’d like to help save seafarers lives, and address a leading cause if seafarer fatalities then check out the project here.

 

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ist engineeros.jpg

We’ll call them Paul and Butch. Not their real names but they were real people. They can no longer tell you their story.

Paul was Third Engineer and Butch was an Ordinary Seaman aboard the Lowlands Grace when she anchored in ballast nearly 12 miles off Port Hedland, Australia on the morning of the 6th of October, 2004 to wait for a cargo of iron ore for China. Continue reading »

Nov 102014
 
bridge

Dropped objects don’t come much bigger than the Jefferson Avenue Bridge over the Rouge River about 10 kilometres southwest of Detroit, Michigan. It is not especially unusual for ships to hit bridges but fairly rare for bridges to hit ships,only fairly rare because it has happened before under similar circumstances – an impaired bridge operator.

About 0212 on May 12, 2013, the bulk carrier Herbert C. Jackson was en route to deliver a load of taconite pellets, a type of iron ore, to the Severstal ore processing terminal in Dearborn, Michigan. As the vessel approached the Jefferson Avenue Bridge, the master slowed and sounded one long and one short blast of the ship’s whistle to notify the bridge tender of the approach and request a bridge opening. While waiting, the master brought the vessel to a near-complete stop. About 0205, the master saw the bridge begin to open, and when the drawbridge was fully open and green lights were visible on each bridge section, he increased speed.

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Nov 072014
 
capblanche

Looking out of the window was not really an option for the pilot conducting the 28, 372 GRT containership Cap Blanche on the Fraser River, British Columbia, Canada, on 25 January this year. With fog reducing visibility to 150 metres he could not even see the bow of the 221.62 LOA vessel, but he did have his trusty portable pilotage unit, PPU, which he relied upon exclusively for navigation and connected it to the vessel’s AIS. But the AIS had a secret, one which put Cape Blanche on the silt at the river’s Steveston Bend.

The accident report from Canada’s Transport Safety Board brings to light a little known aspect of navigation by GPS yet one that might not have led to the grounding had the pilot not been essentially left to his own devices even when his actions conflicted with the vessel passage plan.

The PPU had a predictor function that projects the vessel’s future position by performing geometric calculations based on the vessel’s current rate of turn, position, heading, course over ground, COG, and speed over the ground, SOG. The COG and SOG are derived from GPS values that continuously fluctuate, even when the vessel maintains constant speed and course due to inherent errors and inaccuracies in the GPS. To stabilize these values, a GPS smooths these inputs to provides the user with a more stable COG and SOG.

One can often see the GPS fluctuations on a GPS-equipped tablet computer or smartphone.

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Nov 062014
 
scorpio

At 1521 on 3 January 2014 the Liberia registered liquefied gas carrier, Navigator Scorpio, ran aground on Haisborough Sand in the North Sea. The vessel was undamaged by the grounding and there were no injuries or pollution; 2.5 hours later, it refloated on the rising tide. The investigation found that the vessel ran aground in restricted waters after the officer of the watch had become distracted and lost positional awareness. The passage plan was incomplete and the significant effects of wind and strong tidal streams had not been properly taken into account.

Given the proximity to danger, appropriate navigational techniques were not applied and the bridge manning was insufficient. Additionally, weaknesses in the crew’s navigation capability had been identified during an audit of the vessel, however, follow up actions were not sufficient to prevent the grounding.

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Oct 262014
 

This podcast has a special place in MAC’s heart – it was the very first one ever broadcast. At the time we did not have a video production capability or a recording studio so the sound quality may be least than ideal but the lessons remain very current.

An exhausted Captain; single watch-keeping; a warm, cozy bridge at night; the heavy traffic of the Kiel Canal, and pirated navigational software. If you think that sounds like a recipe for disaster, you’d be absolutely right.

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Stripes Continue reading »

Oct 162014
 

cmvavenueMurphy’s Law is more consistent than the Law of Gravity: If something can go wrong it will, and at the most critical moment. An unresolved engine problem, a contined waterway and an overtaking maneouvre bought together the 12,878 dwt Antigua and Barbuda-flagged CMV Conmar Avenue with the 88,669 dwt Netherlands-flagged Maersk Kalmar on the Outer Weser between fairway buoys 29 and 31 in the Fedderwarder Fairway, Germany.

The joint accident report from Germany’s BSU and Antigua and Barbuda’s Inspection nd Investigation Division, emerges a few weeks after video of what appears to be a somewhat similar siuation in the Suez Canal circulated on the internet. That partiular incident remains under investigation. Continue reading »

Oct 142014
 

wildeMost of us like to push the limits often because our experience tells us we can do so safely. Just because we can does not mean we should, a lesson from Ireland’s Marine Casualty Investigation Board in its report into the collision between two ro-ro ferries: Stena Europe and Oscar Wilde in the port of Rosslare.

At 17.45 on 26 October 2012  as Stena Europe approached Rosslare the vessel’s master took over as OOW and the Mate/Master briefed the bridge team on the intended approach to the berth. The OOW called Rosslare Harbour Port Control and confirmed a wind direction of 028° (T) and a wind speed between 29 and 35 knots. The fact that the vessel had the use of only 3 out of four engines was not reported to port control.

Another source for information on wind speed and direction Information of wind speed and direction was also available from an instrument installed by Stena Line on the breakwater; this transmitted the information by
radio to displays on the bridge wings of the Stena Europe. Continue reading »