Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority is investigation the fall of an umanned lifeboat from the rig Maersk Giant during a test in which a wire rope broke, dropping the lfeboat which then drifted underneath the facility. Later the lifeboat drifted away from Mærsk Giant with an emergency vessel as escort.
She’s powerful, unpredictable and pushy. If you don’t keep a firm hold it could mean a rocky relationship gets very deadly.
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Let’s talk about Chandra. That’s not his real name but he was a real master, 44 years old with 27 years seafaring experience and seven years as a master.
The Coop Venture His vessel was the Coop Venture, a Panamanian registered Panamax bulk carrier of 36,080 gross tones witha crew of four Indians and 15 Filipinos. She carried a cargo of
40,280 metric tones of corn from New Orleans, United States, to Shibushi Bay in Kagoshima prefecture, Japan.
TSB’s report on the contact and grounding incident involving the general cargo vessel Claude A. Desgagnes as it entered Iroquois Lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway, is a tale of sticky decisions, poor communications and whose-in-charge confusion. One lesson is that once you’ve made a decision, keep in constantly under review.
Here’s the short version:
As the vessel proceeded downriver, the master and pilot spoke, but did not develop a shared understanding of the manoeuvre to be used in the approach to the Iroquois Lock. While the pilot had explained his plan to dredge the anchor to the officer of the watch (OOW) earlier in the voyage, the details of the plan were not relayed to the master when he arrived on the bridge.
When it comes to safety, unless everybody’s on the same page
avoidable tragedies will happen.
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When the anchor-handling tug supply vessel Bourbon Dolphin capsized it came at enormous cost. Not just the loss of an almost new and expensive vessel, and a fine of more than $700,000 against Bourbon Offshore Norway, but, most importantly the loss of eight lives including that of a 14 year old schoolboy whose own life had yet to begin. It was a wake up call to the offshore industry that resonates even today.
It happened not because one man made an error but because an entire system failed to protect those onboard, because policies, procedures and practices that should have created a virtual safety net proved wanting, because not everybody was singing from the same songsheet.
Curiosity is a much underused tool for improving safety. From the commissioning of the 93m chemical tanker Key Bora in 2005 no-one wondered why the astern response of its controllable pitch propeller, CPP, was four times slower than its forward response, it was accepted with a shrug as just one of the quirks of this particular vessel. It had not gone unnoticed, it had just gone unquestioned until she rammed a jetty in Hull putting a 90cm hole in her bulbous bow just above the waterline.
It is a good example of how something Not Quite Right, NQR, can lead to a close call and when both go unremarked sooner or later there will be a hit. In the old days of naval warfare the first shot rarely hit the target, it would either overshoot or under shoot the target. A range adjustment would be made and a second shot fired. If that didn’t hit the target it still enabled the gun crew to get a more accurate range, to bracket it, and the next shot would hit the target. A wise commander on the target vessel would take avoiding action to prevent the aggressor bracketing his vessel.
All the key ingredients for a navigational accident were in place long before the Malta-flagged oil and chemical tanker Ovit grounded on the Varne Bank in the Dover Strait in the early morning darkness of 18 September 2013. The report on the incident from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, identifies several layers of factors, not all of them on the bridge of the Ovit, that led to the grounding without which it would not have occurred.
The vessel was equipped with a Maris 900 ECDIS supplied and installed by STT Marine Electronics in Istanbul. An installation certificate issued on 1 April 2011 indicates that all systems had been properly configured and tested. They had not.
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.
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.
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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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.