Feb 012016
 
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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.

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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.

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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

Jan 272016
 
eversmartalexandra

Accidents are often a team effort in which if one part of the team is on the ball the accident does not happen. So it was with the collision between the UK containership Ever Smart and the Marshall Islands registered oil tanker Alexandra 1 at Jebel Ali.

Says the report from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch. MAIB: “The collision resulted from several factors. In particular, a passing arrangement was not agreed or promulgated and the actions of both masters were based on assumptions.

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Jan 212016
 
ulysses_deck_680x400

Within days of the gruesome Carnival Ecstasy tragedy a shipboard lift/elevator claimed another victim by crushing. Yet again the issue of safety when working on or around lifts is highlighted.

Steve Summerside, a 45-year old engineer was working on a lift aboard the Irish Ferries owned Ulysses, the biggest vessel of its kind when launched in 2000. Ulysses was in dry dock for its annual refit. Details are scanty but reports say that Summerside became trapped between the lift and the lift shaft and was crushed.

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Jan 202016
 
Master manouvred "too close"

Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, BSU, has withdrawn from two serious accident investigations involving Italian authorities on the grounds that the legal position in Italy does not permit an objective technical accident investigation because of its absolute prioritization of criminal proceedings. Italian authorities have made it impossible for a thorough investigation to be carried out. It calls into questions the ability of Italian authorities to conduct an IMO-compliant investigation and its competence in carrying out safety investigations.

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Jan 202016
 
selandSwan

Agatha Christie would have been proud of it:  On the morning of 23 July 2015 the chemical-Product tanker Selandia Swan was on passage from Scheveningen, Netherlands to Ust-Luga, Russia through the North Sea with the Third Officer on watch without a lookout. During the 1000 crew break for coffee and tea and AB went to the bridge to make an internet phone call to speak to his family.

On the bridge the AB went to the port side of the centre console to use the cordless telephone. He did note the third officer. There was no answer when the AB called out that he was using the phone but assumed the officer was at the chart table or in the toilet.  As he spoke he walked around the bridge and realised the third officer was not there.

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Jan 192016
 
ladder1

Simple, straight-forward jobs often become dangerous ones when safety procedures are overlooked or inadequate. In the case of the ore-carrier Hyundai Dangjin a second mate died after falling into the water from a rope ladder while the vessel was alongside at at Port Walcott, Western Australia.

It was 4.50am and the chief mate and surveyor were on the wharf checking the draught marks. Unable to see the midships draught mark the chief called the second mate by radio and told him to check the mark on the outboard, port side where a rope ladder had already been rigged. Mates are trained to read draught marks.

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Jan 192016
 
IúdaNaofa

Exactly why the Eire registered MFV Iúda Naofa suddenly flooded and sank off the Butt of Lewis is unknown, says the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, MCIB. report, but there are still lessons to be learned.

On the 17th January 2015, the Irish fishing vessel MFV Iúda Naofa departed with five crew from Rossaveal in the company of another vessel MFV Star of Hope. By the night of the 19th January 2015 the vessels were 50 miles North of the Hebrides.
On the morning of the 20th January 2015 with full holds the vessels were proceeding towards the Minches with the intention of returning to Lough Foyle. At approximately 09.00 hrs to 09.30 hrs on 20th January 2015, at position 59°16’N 009°34’W, the forepeak bilge alarm sounded on the MFV Iúda Naofa and water was observed in the bilge.

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