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 »

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 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

 

Feb 142013
 

dp2Single fault failures should not be possible in safety critical systems. However, a recent incident in which dynamic positioning failed while divers were underwater show that they can and do happen in ways that, with 20/20 hindsight, are not surprising.

A serious incident occurred in which a diving support vessel’s dynamic positioning (DP) system, designated as IMO class 2, failed resulting in the vessel drifting off position while divers were deployed subsea. Investigations have shown that a probable cause of the DP failure was a single fault which caused blocking of the DP system’s internal data communications. Continue reading »

Feb 122013
 

crankHolding on to something that revolves at high speed is not conducive to a long life but inattention and a lack of safety instincts can result in the sorts of  incidents covered in Denmark’s Maritime Accident Investigation report on a fatality aboard the Nicolai Maersk on 26 April 2012.

Nicolai Maersk arrived at Jebel Ali, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Shortly after arrival at 1515 hours the ship began loading and unloading containers.

During the stay in Jebel Ali, the ship was to receive lubricating oil both in bulk and in drums. The drums were to be hoisted on board by means of the aft stores crane. The lubricating oil in bulk was to arrive by truck and be pumped on board at the bunker station on the upper deck close to the gangway. Continue reading »