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
 

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 »

Feb 272013
 
Photo: Seconds from Disaster

167 workers died when Piper Alpha exploded on 6 July 1988: Photo: Seconds from Disaster

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority looks at the 25 anniversary of the Piper Alpha tragedy this year in the latest issue of its annual Status and Signals publication.  In all its gruesomeness, Piper Alpha contributed insights and an understanding of risk to the international industry.

The publication also takes a closer look at other accidents and near misses which have contributed to a better grasp of safety – from the 1977 Ekofisk Bravo blowout to the Gullfaks C well incident in 2010.

Says PSA: “The primary reason for focusing on the most serious incidents is the PSA’s belief in the value of learning and experience transfer. Although it can be painful to revisit major accidents and critical incidents, such a review can help to reduce the risk of experiencing new ones”.

Meanwhile, Lord Cullen is to be keynote speaker at the Oil & Gas UK  safety conference to be held in the summer to mark the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster.

Piper 25, a three-day event to be held at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre from 18 to 20 June 2013 and principally sponsored by Talisman Sinopec Energy UK Limited, will bring together people from across the global oil and gas industry to reflect on the lessons learnt from the tragedy, review how far offshore safety has evolved since and to reinforce industry commitment to continuous improvement.

Safety Status and Signals

Piper Alpha Conference

2008 Documentary

Feb 272013
 
Forward Davit Arm Showing Parted Wire

Forward Davit Arm Showing Parted Wire. Photo: Maritime Safety Investigation Unit

Malta’s Maritime Safety Investigation Unit has issued a safety alert following the discovery of significant corrosion on inner strands of a fall wire involved in the falling of of a lifeboat on 10 February 2013. Five seafarers died in the incident which occurred aboard Thomson Majesty while berthed alongside in Santa Crux de La Palma.

Says the safety alert: ” The wire rope had parted approximately where it rested over the topmost sheave, when the davit was in a stowed position.

“The fore and aft davit’s falls were replaced on 22 August 2010 and the next scheduled replacement was August 2014.
 “The launching appliance had been dynamically tested in May 2012.
“Initial results of the tests carried out on the parted ends of the wire indicate significant corrosion damage to the inner strands of the wire”. Continue reading »
Feb 232013
 
Roonagh Pier.

Roonagh Pier.

Eire’s Marine Casualty Investigation Board says that failure of the leading lights at Roonagh Pier were the main cause of the grounding of the passenger ferry Pirate Queen but further investigations revealed serious weaknesses in the navigational procedures and practices on the company vessels. There appeared to be an over reliance on visual aids to
navigation and a neglect to practice and use the electronic aids on board.

On the evening of 20th December 2011 the inter island passenger ferry Pirate Queen grounded on rocks at the entrance to Roonagh Pier, Co. Mayo. The vessel was refloated shortly afterwards and although not holed, it had sustained severe structural damage. Two of the passengers were taken off the ferry whilst she was on the rocks and transferred to the pier by a rigid inflatable boat. One passenger sustained injuries during the incident. Continue reading »

Feb 232013
 

The third officer on CCNI Guayas was less lucky.

Heavy weather does not have to be extreme to lead to injuries on the bridge – it’s enough to lack handrails and have improperly stowed equipment. The latest example comes from Marine Safety Forum, MSF, in a safety alert.

Recently on a vessel it was reported that a crewman had taken a fall in the bridge during heavy weather. He suffered only minor injuries.
The incident occurred whilst on sea passage as the vessel was in the process of altering course, the weather although heavy could not be described as extreme and the vessel would have encountered similar conditions on a regular basis. Continue reading »