Feb 212016

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority, PSA,  says an improperly adjusted winch brake, which it refers to as ‘vulnerable’, led to the unintentionally launch of a lifeboat from the mobile unit Mærsk Giant at about 05.10 on Wednesday 14 January 2015.

This incident occurred during testing of the lifeboat systems.

During testing, one of the lifeboats unintentionally descended to the sea. Efforts were made to activate the manual brake on the lifeboat winch, but it was not working. The lifeboat entered the water and drifted beneath the unit. The steel wires holding it were eventually torn off.

After the incident, the lifeboat drifted away from Mærsk Giant, accompanied by a standby vessel. The lifeboat eventually reached land at Obrestad south of Stavanger.

Nobody was in the lifeboat when the incident occurred, and no personnel were injured.

The PSA conducted an investigation which established that the direct cause of the incident was a reduction in the braking effect of the brake on the lifeboat winch owing to faulty adjustment. If the manual brake failed during maintenance with people in the lifeboat, or during an actual evacuation, serious personal injury or deaths could have resulted.

Should the lifeboat have descended during an actual evacuation, a partially filled lifeboat could have reached the sea without a lifeboat captain on board. The PSA also considers it likely that people would have been at risk of falling from the lifeboat or the muster area should a descent have started. The potential consequence could be fatalities.

Five nonconformities were identified by this investigation. These related to

  • maintenance routines for the lifeboat davit system
  • training
  • procedures relating to lifeboats and evacuation
  • periodic programme for competent control and ensuring the expertise of personnel carrying out maintenance work
  • qualification and follow-up of contractors.

Mærsk Giant is operated by Maersk Drilling Norge.

PSA Report (Norwegian)

Feb 212016

In this week’s SafeSpace Replay: A ship filled with wheat, a seafarer dead in his cabin, fumigants in the holds but the holds were sealed. Weren’t they?

You might not smell trouble but you might see it coming, even if it wears a mask


Listen To The Podcast

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Feb 172016

At 2215 local time on 12 August, 2014, the outbound bulk carrier Flag Gangos collided with the berthed oil tanker Pamisos on the Mississippi River at Gretna, Louisiana. Flag Gangos then made contact with a pier at the facility where the Pamisos was berthed, and the pier struck and damaged a fuel barge, WEB235, berthed behind the Pamisos. No one was injured, but about 1,200 gallons of oil that was being transferred at the time spilled from the transfer lines, and some of the oil entered the river. Damage amounts were reported as $16 million for the terminal, more than $500,000 each for the Flag Gangos and the Pamisos, and about $418,000 for the fuel barge.

Yet moments before the steering vanished it appeared to be working fine.

US National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, investigators discovered the dirty secret of the Flag Gangos,

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Feb 152016

Do you know what a confined space actually is? Can you identify one by looking at it? When is a confined space hazardous? And when does a non-hazardous space become a dangerous one?  This week MAC is looking at no-so-obvious confined spaces and hazards, threats that may go unrecognised.

We start with the Jo Eik incident.

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Feb 112016

Toxic fumes killed a 24 year old seafarer aboard a Russian flagged chemical products, Araz River, in the Adriatic. Reports say that the seafarer and two others, who were hospitalised, had been cleaning a tank after unloading a cargo of canola oil at the port of Vasto.

Italian media say that residues of canola oil reacted with detergent being used for cleaning producing fumes that led to respiratory failure.

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Feb 092016

Dropping a deck on your passengers is probably not the best way to impress them, although it might lead to some interesting insurance claims. Looking after your wire ropes will help avoid that unpleasantness, to go by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, report into just such an incident aboard the ro-ro ferry St. Helens at the Fishbourne Ferry Terminal, Isle of Wight.

The same problems also arise with lifeboat and fast rescue boats, so the lessons regarding proper lubrication and maintenance of wire ropes goes beyond this particular incident.

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Feb 092016

As yet MAC has not tracked down an investigation report on this incident. It understood to have involved the German-flagged chemical/products tanker Jana and the Antigua and Barbuda flagged containership Herm Kiepe in 2011 on the Kiel Canal. Herme Kiepe has since changed its name to Leone P as of August 2013.

What do you think happened? Let us know in the comments section below.

Feb 092016

Interviews are an essential of investigating an accident and determining how and why something happened. Getting a witness to provide information is an important skill to acquire, and that includes understanding the psychology of the witness, hence a free course offered by Britain’s respected Open University may be of value to anyone trying to ensure the usefulness of an interview.

The course is online through the Futurelearn platform and runs for eight weeks from 21 March, taking about three hours a week. A certificate is available on completion which could be presented as professional development.

While the course is aimed at police investigations its principles equally apply to interviews conducted for maritime investigations.

Needless to say MAC will be on the course, so why not come and join us?

Find out more about the course here: Forensic Psychology


Feb 012016

If investigating maritime accidents might be up your street the US National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, might be looking for you.

Says the agency: “As the Marine Accident Investigator (Nautical) you will have the experience and expertise in commercial marine operations, vessel navigation and maneuvering marine safety and marine accident investigations. You will be responsible for organizing, managing and coordinating the investigation of marine accidents, and for developing and presenting reports with marine transportation safety recommendations for adoption by the Board. You will serve as an Investigator in Charge (IIC) or Group Chairperson in NTSB led and USCG led marine accident investigations. . Further, the you may serve as the NTSB representative in public/non-public accident investigations or other marine accident investigations of interest to the NTSB, and as the NTSB representative in international investigations conducted under IMO rules.

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