The errant 30 to 25 metre line was discovered the hard way by the pilot
The errant 30 to 25 metre line was discovered the hard way by the pilot
Once upon a time they were called ‘second-hand’ but today it’s fashionable to call them ‘pre-loved’ – old cars and trucks. Unfortunately they come with an increased risk of fire when being transported to their last resting place as the fire aboard the DFDS ro-ro ferry Corona Seaways.
At 0215 on 4 December 2013, a fire was discovered on the main deck of Corona Seaways while the vessel was on passage from Fredericia to Copenhagen, Denmark. The crew mustered, closed the ventilation louvres, established boundary cooling and operated the fixed CO2 fire-extinguishing system.
Although smoke continued to escape from the louvres, steady temperatures in the vicinity of the fire indicated that the CO2 had been effective in controlling it. At 0640, the vessel entered the Swedish port of Helsingborg, where assistance was provided
by the local Fire and Rescue Service.
The vessel suffered light structural damage and the loss of some minor electrical supplies. Three vehicles and six trailers were severely fire-damaged and other vehicles suffered minor radiant heat damage. The fire was caused by an electrical
defect on one of the vehicles’ engine starting system.
A Renault Premium 250.18 truck had been driven about 240km before arriving at Fredericia and then onto the vessel. Neither the drivers nor stevedores reported any mechanical, electrical or instrumentation issues. However, the truck had not been driven for the previous 11 months and there was no evidence that any checks had been carried out to prove its roadworthiness or general safety, including the integrity of its electrical and mechanical systems.
Existing damage to a battery cable meant that even though the vehicle was parked with the key in the ignition in the Stop/Park position an electrical short, with resultant heating, could still occur, as seems to have happened in this case.
MAIB’s report on the incident says: “The carriage of used vehicles and equipment that do not have appropriate road worthiness certification and whose history and condition are unknown, brings increased risks when compared with the carriage of well maintained vehicles that are in regular use“.
Although DFDS has fire risk control systems in place that might have prevented such a vehicle fire these oly applied to dedicated car transporters not to ro-ro ferries. Says MAIB: “Contrary to the spirit of the MCA’s Code of Practice and the master’s ‘Unsafe Cargo’ notice, there was no evidence that the vessel’s crew carried out vehicle safety checks. Neither the SSMM nor the onboard risk assessments covered the carriage of used vehicles and equipment”.
MAIB also noted: Injection of CO2 into the main deck was delayed, allowing the fire to develop, because it took time to establish the fitter’s whereabouts during the crew muster. The reason why the CO2 fire-extinguishing system apparently failed to discharge the allotted quantity of CO2 as designed remains unexplained. The main deck ventilation louvres were not fully closed and some of the crew were unaware how to correctly operate them. This allowed air (oxygen) to feed the fire and potentially affected the CO2 concentration levels needed to extinguish the fire. The cargo deck ventilation fans were not operated as required by the current regulations. This increased the fire risk due to the potential build-up of flammable
vapours from vehicles.
Conflicting goals and poor communications with unseen crewmembers are not conducive to safe handling of mooring lines, as a recent investigation by Denmark’s Maritime Accident Investigation Board, DMAIB, shows. The deck arrangements probably didn’t help much either, producing uncertainty at a critical time when crews are under pressure and mooring lines under extreme tension.
Pachuca, an Antigua & Barbuda flagged containership was engaged in regular trade between ports in Northern Europe and called at some six ports a week. The master and crew had been in Esbjerg several times before and were therefore familiar with the harbour area and mooring conditions The port stay was planned to last a few hours.
After discharging was complete at 0445, loading commenced and was completed at 0615. Shortly after the ship was ready for departure. The chief officer and the master were on the bridge and on the enclosed forecastle were the bosun, one ordinary seaman and one able seaman.
Take one fatigued pilot, add cultural power distance, loss of situational awareness, a dash of unimplemented Bridge Resource Management , inadequate master-pilot exchange and passage planning and there’s a very good change of something unpleasant happening. TSB Canada’s investigation report into grounding of the bulker Tundra off Sainte Anne-de-Sorel, Quebec, is an interesting collection of what-not-to-does.
Groundings in which pilots are involved are among the most expensive. A study by the International Group of P&I Clubs estimated that although groundings only account for 3 per cent of incidents resulting insurance claims of more than $100,000 they accounted for 35 per cent of the cost of claims at a cost of $7.85m for each incident. That compares with collisions, which accounted for 24 per cent of incidents and costs, and fixed and floating object claims which accounted for 64 per cent of incidents but 33 per cent of claims.
There’s money in them thar ills.
When the pilot boarded the Tundra he did not have up-to-date information regarding the buoys he intended to use for navigation. One buoy has been removed, which was not necessarily going to be problem since the next buoy had distinctly different characteristics than the missing device and the pilot would have recognised the situation and adjusted accordingly. He did not have a documented passage plan – his was in his laptop.
Fire drills ensure that officers and crew know how to fight a fire efficiently, at least in an ideal world. In the case of the bulk log carrier the reality was that shipboard fire drills were of little value when a real fire occurred in the accommodation.
Australia’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission was unable to determine how the fire started in an AB’s cabin on 11 July 2013 because the crew had started cleaning it after the blaze was extinguished. True, the crew did extinguish the fire after 25 minutes but showed that some basic firefighting knowledge was lacking.
In its first investigative report into parasailing safety the US National Transportation Safety Board finds the activity is largely unregulated with serious accidents frequently caused by faulty equipment. Because of the nature of an activity that often occurs in changing weather conditions with parasailers suspended 500 feet or more above the water’s surface, accidents often result in death or serious injury.
“An afternoon of parasailing can have tragic results if something as simple as a weak towline, strong winds, or a worn harness causes a serious accident,” says NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “It is crucial that operators are competent and aware of all the risks associated with parasailing.”
We’ve all had them: Those moments of thoughtlessness when knowledge, experience and even reason seem to take a holiday and we get hurt and kick ourselves for doing something we knew to be unsafe but didn’t think about it and wonder why we did so. Sergey Gaponov will not be wondering why he stepped on a bight of rope: He was pulled overboard and has not be found.
Sergey was a crewman on the general cargo ship Sea Melody. He was a 40 year old Russian able seaman and had obtained a Certificate of Competency as a rating, forming part of a navigational watch, in 2002. This was his third consecutive tour of duty on Sea Melody which he had re-joined in November 2013. He was well regarded by his shipmates and had received positive reports on his conduct and ability during his time on the ship.
Did it fall or was it pushed? Investigators are not sure whether a fire in collapsed containers aboard the 11,000 teu Eugene Maersk on 18 June 2013 was a result of friction heat during the collapse or whether there was an existing smaller fire in a container before the collapse. They are certain that in both scenarios the collapse of containers was considered a major contributing factor to the fire.
Fighting the fire might have been easier if the available equipment was appropriate to the job. In the crew’s opinion there was no doubt about the importance of getting water inside the burning containers but the special
equipment provided on board for this purpose proved to be of little or no use.
Denmark’s Maritime Accident Investigation Board, DMAIB, says: “The reason for the collapse of containers leading up to the fire was most likely a combination of multiple factors, including the structural integrity of the containers, the weather conditions, the stack weights, the lashings and dynamic forces acting on the ship.
Merely responding “Okay” isn’t the best way of ensuring that the other vessel actually understands your intentions. And, as Germany’s Bundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchung, BSU report into the collision between xontainerships CMV CCNI Rimac and CMV CSAV Petorca near the port of Yangshan, China, shows: Assume nothing.
Under conditions of reduced visibility at 1148, on 21 June 2011, VTS Yangshan, told the Petorca that she was outside the fairway and that a vessel in the fairway was approaching her. Petorca acknowledged the information and told the traffic centre that she intended to return to the northern part of the fairway immediately after the outbound ship passed. She did not mention the ship by name but was referring to the Rimac. VTS Yangshan repeated the information from the Petorca and acknowledged her intentions.
Rimac called VTS Yangshan about 15 seconds later and asked about the oncoming vessel now some 1.5 nm away. The Petorca heard this query and requested the Rimac to maintain her course at 1150. Petorca intended to alter her course a little further to port.