Apr 082015
 

When it comes to safe navigation,
if you don’t ask a question right
you’re not asking the right question and
you won’t get the right answer.


Read the transcript

Continue reading »

Feb 192015
 

When the esteemed Denis Bryant says: “This incident was the result of too many errors and failures and misadventures, including an unfortunately timed potty break, to easily summarize. I highly recommend reading the report in full” you can be sure that the report, in this case the US National Transportation Safety board’s report on the contact between the fishing boat American Dynasty and the Canadian warship HMCS Winnipeg, is worth reading.
Continue reading »

Feb 182015
 

At about midnight on the evening of 7/8 July 2014 the ro-ro ferry Stena Nautica with 155 passengers onboard suddenly decided it wanted to go hard starboard while departing from Grenaa Port, Denmark. Since she had not cleared the breakwater the result was a contact incident which put holes in her hull below the waterline and much denting. No-one was hurt but to go by the accident investigation by Denmark’s Maritime Accident Investigation Board, DMAIB, it appears to have been another design-assisted accident.

Continue reading »

Dec 162014
 

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.
Continue reading »

Dec 022014
 

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. Continue reading »

Nov 102014
 

November 2012 saw Michael Gallagher, master of the workboat catamaran Windcat 9 with 15 people on board when it hit a large floating military target in Donna Nook Air Weapons Range on 21 November 2012, fined £1,500 and told to pay £8,082 in costs plus a victim surcharge of £120. It was a familiar situation, with the magistrate commenting that Gallagher “should have kept a proper lookout at all times using all available means and be competent in using all his electronic navigational equipment” but i raises an issue and opportunity to get safety culture right in a new, fast-developing industry.

At the time the collision Windcat 9 was estimated to travelling around 23 knots. The hull of the Windcat 9 was badly damaged, causing extensive flooding. Luckily no one was hurt, but there could have been multiple fatalities as a result of this high speed collision which threw several passengers from their seats. Continue reading »

Nov 102014
 

Dropped objects don’t come much bigger than the Jefferson Avenue Bridge over the Rouge River about 10 kilometres southwest of Detroit, Michigan. It is not especially unusual for ships to hit bridges but fairly rare for bridges to hit ships,only fairly rare because it has happened before under similar circumstances – an impaired bridge operator.

About 0212 on May 12, 2013, the bulk carrier Herbert C. Jackson was en route to deliver a load of taconite pellets, a type of iron ore, to the Severstal ore processing terminal in Dearborn, Michigan. As the vessel approached the Jefferson Avenue Bridge, the master slowed and sounded one long and one short blast of the ship’s whistle to notify the bridge tender of the approach and request a bridge opening. While waiting, the master brought the vessel to a near-complete stop. About 0205, the master saw the bridge begin to open, and when the drawbridge was fully open and green lights were visible on each bridge section, he increased speed.

Continue reading »

Apr 162014
 

ChristosXXIIPerhaps there are times to save money on hiring a pilot in unfamiliar waters but this was not one of them. The master of the Greek-registered tug Christos XXII had little experience in tidal waters and his company procedures were of little help when he decided to save on pilotage by anchoring in the tidal waters outside Tor Bay to investigate a dangerous list in the towed vessel Emsstrom, to judge by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Board report on the subsequent collision between tug and tow.

The result of the money-saving measurese and lack of appropriate company procedures was the sinking of the Emsstrom and the holing and flooding of Christos XXII. And a lot more expense. Continue reading »

Jul 132012
 

Late alert left master with few options

“A delay in informing the bridge team about the loss of control air, denied the master valuable time in which to assess the alternative courses of action available. The investigation also identified that the applicable onboard emergency situation check cards contained insufficient detail, and that the machinery breakdown drills that had been conducted were unlikely to prepare the crew for the scenario which unfolded on the day of the accident” says the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch investigation into the heavy contact between the ferry Pride of Calais and the berth at Calais, France.

Pride of Calais lost propulsion when all three main engine clutches disengaged in very quick succession. The loss of propulsion came at a critical point as the vessel was still making good 4.3kts and was only about one ship’s length from her berth. Although letting go the starboard anchor reduced the vessel’s speed to 2.5kts, it did not prevent her striking the berth. Says the report: “The use of both anchors might have been more effective”.

The report highlights the importance of drills to build skills to deal with this sort of situation but recognised potential difficulties with doing so: “the opportunities to conduct  realistic machinery breakdown drills on board  Pride of Calais are severely restricted by the vessel’s operation in the congested waters of the
Dover Strait. Nonetheless, ‘hands on’ drills are unquestionably the best way to train crews to deal effectively with emergency situations and to verify the logic and usefulness of the check cards provided. Therefore, further consideration on how realistic drills can be achieved is warranted”.

Download the MAIB report on Pride of Calais