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 »
Feb 202013
 
Liquefied lateritic nickel ore - the discolouration on the bulkhead tells the story

Liquefied lateritic nickel ore – the discolouration on the bulkhead tells the story. Photo UK P&I Club

While a full investigation will take some time to complete, if it ever is completed and released, the sinking of the Harita Bauxite off Cape Bolinao, North West Luzon, Philippines bear many of the familiar signatures of a liquefaction casualty. Her cargo of 47,450mt nickel ore from Indonesia bound for China, the speed of her sinking and the high level of casualties have characterised the loss of several vessels in the same area over the past few years.

The Panama-registered, 1983-built handymax ship sank on the evening of 17 February after suffering engine failure, and heavy rolling in rough weather. Although ten crew were rescued by a passing ship, 14 crew remain unaccounted for. One fatality has been so far reported. Continue reading »

Feb 142013
 
Battered USS Guardian may be first Philippine case under the IMO Code

Battered USS Guardian may be first Philippine case under the IMO Code

Newly appointed US Secretary of State John Kerry has assured his opposite number in the Philippine government, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, of “full cooperation in the salvaging of the USS Guardian as well as in the investigation of the grounding incident and that the US stands ready to fully and appropriately provide compensation for all damages” says the country’s information agency. Of particular note is the willingness of the US Navy to collaborate with Philippine investigators which may open the door to IMO compliant casualty investigations in the country.

Joint investigation of criminal charges are covered in the Visiting Forces Agreement, VFA, between the two countries. The entry of the USS Guardian into a restricted area was a breach of Philippine law. Under the VFA crimes committed by off-duty US military personnel in the Philippines come under the jurisdiction of the Philippines while crimes committed by on-duty personnel are under US jurisdiction. However, recent announcements by the Philippine Coast Guard that its investigation will comply with the non-liability provisions of the IMO Casualty Code may have enabled the US Navy to provide Philippine investigators access to shipboard personnel.

It will be the first investigation in the country carried out in compliance with the code.

Says Del Rosario: “One of the first things we discussed was the USS Guardian incident. We had a very frank discussion between friends. We both agreed on the importance of removing the USS Guardian from the reef without causing further damage,” Secretary del Rosario said, adding “Secretary Kerry reiterated the deep regret of the US government over the incident and its readiness to provide full and appropriate compensation.

“Secretary Kerry said that he himself wants to know and get to the bottom of what truly happened. In this context he said that he wants to be a full partner of the Philippines in finding out what happened and that the U.S. government will cooperate fully with the investigation that the Philippines is conducting,” Secretary del Rosario said, adding that this would include the willingness of the US to accept and answer queries posed by Philippine investigators to key US personnel.

According to Secretary del Rosario, Secretary Kerry is also committed to sharing the findings of the U.S. investigation and to consulting the Philippines and its experts before finalizing its investigation.

“We both agreed that it is important to understand what happened and to take the necessary navigational safety measures to protect the reef and that would prevent other ships from grounding there.”

Currently the Philippines has no official body of trained accident investigators which is complaint with the IMO Casualty Code. The country’s Board of Marine Inquiry, BMI, a quasi-judicial body, considers itself the sole agency authorised to carry out accident enquiries although the board has no professional investigators attached and is primarily concerned with establishing liability. Among potential stumbling blocks is that under current legislation any ‘competent court’ can demand access to data gathered during an investigation, including reports, with a view to establishing blame, which contravenes the IMO Code.

Efforts to establish an IMO compliant investigatory capability Philippines have been hamstrung by a BMI reluctance to have its authority diluted. Efforts to replace the BMI have been consistently blocked despite encouraging reports in 2011. However, the PCG investigation team operating within compliance is hoped to break the deadlock.

See Also

Surprising Development in USS Guardian – Philippines To Invoke IMO Casualty Code

USS Guardian And The Ghost Islands – Human Error Moved Reef

USS Guardian Not Warned Before Grounding

Lessons From The Guardian Grounding – Don’t Trust Charts

Princess Of The Stars – fixing the blame, but not the problem

Unhappy Christmas For Philippines Ferries

An Accidental Wind Of Change In The Philippines

Philippines To Abandon Board Of Marine Inquiry