Feb 212016
 
maersklifeboat

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
 
safespace2

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

Continue reading »

Feb 172016
 
flaggangos

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,

Continue reading »

Feb 152016
 
safespace2

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.

Continue reading »

Feb 092016
 
sthelens

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.

Continue reading »

Feb 092016
 
forensicpsychology

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
 
magnify

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.

Continue reading »

Jan 312016
 
noravictoria4

Groundings can be surprisingly gentle, undramatic events, but that doesn’t mean that a lot of damage has not been done. so it’s unwise to immediately try and go astern to refloat. But when you’re fatigued you’re subject to making bad decisions, as did the skipper of the Nora Victoria, which led to the foundering of the vessel. While it was a small workboat the lessons apply as much to larger vessels.

At 20:59 local time on Monday 30 June 2014, the workboat Nora Victoria left the quay at Knarholmen in Vestre Bokn. After approximately 12–14 minutes, the skipper activated the autopilot and set course for Høna beacon on the northern tip of Finnøy island. He sat down in the navigator’s seat, where he remained for the rest of the voyage.

At 22:33, ‘Nora Victoria’ grounded approximately 320 metres south-west of Høna beacon. The skipper has stated that he was not conscious during the final part of the journey, and that he only came round when the vessel grounded.

Continue reading »

Jan 282016
 
iledesein

Jetlag and fatigue may have led to a fire aboard the French-flagged cableship Ile De Sein, suggests France’s maritime accident investigation agency, BEAmer. Long-haul flights can lead to mistakes with serious consequences if efforts are not made to reduce their effects.

In the case of Ile De Sein, bunkering operations were underway in Honolulu. The engineering team carrying out the operation had arrived the previous day on a flight from France. By 1930 on 5 May 2015 the marine diesel oil tank nu,ber two was nearly full. After sounding, the cadet closed the ball-valve actuated by a counterweight but omitted to close the cap.

Soon after an engineer was preparing, from the control cabin, the shifting of the filling from the MDO tank number two starboard to the MDO tank number one centre. An operator error during the filling valve opening – closing sequence on the tanks, resulted in the tank venting pipe and sounding circuit overpressure.

Without the cap fuel vapour was able to escape through the sounding tube and, as flammable vapours will, found an amenable source of ignition.

A well-drilled firefighting team tackled the blaze appropriately and extinguished it. Says BEAmer: “The most important damages were located on electrical bunched cables (6600 volts), control organs and cabinets for DA1 and 2. Restarting of the mooring generating set after repair of its power supply.”

Although BEAmer says: “The engineer team who was coordinating the bunkering operation joined at Honolulu on the day before. The fatigue, due to the joining travel from France and to the jet lag, had probably contributed to the operating error in controlling the MDO tank filling valves” it offers no recommendation regarding mitigation of the effect of jetlag and travel fatigue and limits itself to “The crew’s attention should be drawn to the fact that the closure of a fuel tank sounding pipe, only by the ball-valve, do not provide vapour tightness.”

Unfortunately, the report does not determine whether a checklist was required by onboard procedures. Checklists, although much derided, are a tool designed to reduce the chances of error in sequential tasks.

Honolulu is 11 hours behind France and the more than 15 hour flight crosses a dozen time zones. Such long flights disrupt the body and brain’s natural cycle, the circadian rhythm, and the engineers’ bodies would still have been operating on ‘Paris time’. Such long flights incur fatigue, even if one sleeps during the flight.

To put that into context it would take between five and ten days to recover from jetlag and travel fatigue. Some recommendations say allow a day’s rest for each time zone crossed, but this may not be possible in a real world setting. The engineers aboard Ile De Sein had, at most, 24 hours.

Nevertheless, it is important for shipping companies to take account of it in their schedules.

So, work in advance if you can, here are some recommendations:

  • Be fully rested before you travel. Don’t make the mistake of making your self tired so you’ll sleep on the flight.
  • If you can, gradually adjust your meal and sleep patterns to fit those of your destination. Often this may not be a practical option for a seafarer but if you can do it will help.
  • Your travel arrangements may not be yours to decide but if you can, try and arrive in daylight. On arrival stay awake until until your normal sleep time local time.
  • Once on the plane set your watch to the time at your destination, it’s a psychological trick that may help.
  • Stay well hydrated during the flight and avoid alcohol or coffee if you can.
  • Stretch your legs, walk up and down, exercise during the flight. This is good practice anyway because it will help reduce the chances of deep vein thrombosis.
  • If the flight is long enough sleep on the plane at the same time as you would sleep at your destination.
  • On arrival, get as much daylight as possible and get some exercise.
  • Taking doses of melatonin, the so-called ‘sleep hormone’, may help but it does have some risk so only take it under medical supervision.
  • Do not take sleeping pills for the flight.

How do you deal with jetlag? What does your company do to reduce it effects on seafarers?Tel us in the comments section below.

BEAmer Report

See Also

The Fatigue Factor

Seaway: Fatigue and Jet Lag: In Search of Sound Sleep