Apr 032017
 

Often, when vessels capsizes, there is not enough time to say “Oh, f*&k”. Stellar Daisy, a 24-year old Very Large Ore Carrier vanished with minutes of sending a standard daily report. At this time, only two of the ship’s 24 officers and crew have been found alive. Two empty lifeboats and a liferaft, ship’s debris and surface fuel oil are reported to have been found in the vicinity of her last known position. SAR efforts continue with the help of four merchant vessels.

The vessel was carrying iron ore from Brazil to China when it disappeared at about 02.52 GMT, 11.53 local time, on 31 March some 350 nautical north-west off Tristan Da Cunha reportedly under fine weather conditions.

It is understood that liquefaction played a key role in the capsize, investigations are at a very early stage but the suddenness of the disappearance, the lack of survivors and the empty LSAs are typical of liquefaction-induced capsize. Port State Control examinations suggest that the 24-year-old vessel had a fairly clean bill of health with no detentions although Chinese PSC authorities identified two deficiencies related to water-tight doors, which investigators will be studying.

Liquefaction is the phenomenon by which, under certain circumstances, a dry bulk cargo typically an ore, and often iron ore fines, behaves like a liquid. When the vessel rolls to one side the liquefied cargo moves to the lower side of the vessel, then lock in place as a mass, producing a list. An opposite roll can re-liquefy the cargo.  One may have as little as 90 seconds to identify and mitigate the problem before it becomes irrecoverable.

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Apr 082015
 

Two men were saved when the tug Asterix capsized while unberthing a chemical tanker at Fawley Refinery. The incident, currently under investigation by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, is a reminder of the speed with which the enormous forces involved in ship handling can cause a tug to girt, giving crew little chance to escape, as the video below, from an incident investigated by Canada’s Transport Safety Board, shows.

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Dec 152014
 

Tugs are unforgiving vessels. The enormous forces involved mean that when something goes wrong it goes wrong very fast and often with fatal consequences. North Tug’s crew were lucky, after inexperience, poor communications and a lack of mandatory requirements led to the vessel capsizing while assisting

The workboat North Tug capsized and sank when it was assisting the cruise ship Ocean Princess during its departure from the quay in Kirkenes on 10 June 2013. The plan was to move the cruise ship sideways out from the quay, and North Tug was to assist in pulling the bow of the cruise ship away from the quay. There was a change of plan without this being communicated to the skipper of North Tug. This led to North Tug being pulled along by the cruise ship and moving backwards with the towline over its stern. This is a very unstable situation for a conventional tugboat with the towing point forward of the propellers. Because of the speed at which North Tug was moving astern, the aft deck started to fill up with water, which caused the boat to heel. North Tug ended up partly sideways on the direction of movement. The tug capsized as a consequence of water on deck and the transverse forces from the towline. Both crew members on board North Tug saved themselves by jumping into the water.

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Dec 152014
 

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. Continue reading »

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Dec 082014
 

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Seven years ago Bourbon Dolphin capsized during a rig move. It was a tragedy that sent waves thorough the offshore industry but have the lessons been learned?

It is still dark early on the morning of 30th March 2007 in Scalloway, Shetland as Norwegian Captain Oddne Remoy boards the Bourbon Dolphin for the first time. Bourbon Dolphin is less than a year old, painted in the distinctive green and white house colours of Bourbon Offshore Norway. She flies the Norwegian flag.

Remoy is to relieve from the vessel’s existing master, Frank Reiersen, as part of the vessel’s shift – five weeks on and five weeks off and is replacing the ship’s other regular master, Hugo Hansen.  Hansen and Remoy have already discussed Bourbon Dolphin by telephone. Continue reading »

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Jul 302014
 

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westerntuggerTug tows generate such immense forces that when something goes wrong it goes very wrong and often tragically.In the case of Western Tugger a deckhand suffered fatal injuries while trying to release a tow wire attached to a capsized barge in a report from TSB Canada.

This was the third time that Western Tugger had towed the barge Arctic Lift I. This time the welded steel barge was loaded with rebar and bundled wood and the voyage went without problems for the next six days.

On 10 May at 0400, the mate on watch verified visually that the barge was towing normally.Footnote 10 Shortly after that, heavy fog rolled in, and the mate was unable to see the barge again during the watch. The master arrived on the bridge at about 0545, but was unable to see the barge. The mate left the bridge shortly after the master took over the watch. Continue reading »

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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 »

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Feb 082013
 
Hard to find painter knife

Hard to find painter knife

Know your liferaft – when the beam trawler Betty G capsized on 23 July 2012 the three crew took to the vessel’s liferaft and looked for a knife to cut the painter. They couldn’t find it and one crew member had to go back aboard the trawler to find one. Due to their unfamiliarity with the liferaft they did not know that a knife was secured in a black pocket on the roof of the raft.

A newly-released report from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, says the vessel capsized as a result of the  load in the starboard trawl net releasing  suddenly. Betty G then progressively  flooded and sank. The crew acted  swiftly and deployed the liferaft, which  ultimately saved their lives. No distress message was transmitted and no alarm was raised, even though the vessel was fitted with an emergency position indicating radio beacon, EPIRB, and an MOB Guardian.

As in other cases, the EPIRB was kept in the wheelhouse and could not float free. To maximise effectiveness, an EPIRB should be registered, regularly checked and serviced, and fitted in a float-free canister with a hydrostatic release. Continue reading »

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Feb 072013
 
Tug Adonis inverted

Tug Adonis inverted

Three important lessons have emerged from the investigation into the capsize of the tug Adonis at Gladstone, Qld on 11 June 2011 says Australia’s Transport Safety Bureau, ATSB: Masters of tugs, regardless of size, need to be actively aware of the signs that a tug might be in danger of capsizing and what to do to lessen this danger;  In multiple tug operations, masters need to plan the passage and consider the speed of the passage and when it is time to release the towline;  It is also essential that masters communicate frequently throughout the passage bring any concerns about speed to the other master’s attention.

On 11 June the harbour tug Adonis, which had four persons on board, was engaged in an operation with a second tug, Wolli, to move an Australian registered unmanned steel flattop dumb barge (Chrysus) in the port of Gladstone, Queensland. Adonis capsized during the operation. Three of the four persons on board escaped but the fourth drowned in the wheelhouse. Continue reading »

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