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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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 »

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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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Apr 112010
 

image Use of an oversized, and worn, U-shaped insert in a wire stopper failed to restrain a pennant wire that came under tension, resulting in the death of an AB on an anchor handling tug, reports the International Maritime Contractors Association.

Says IMCA: “A member has reported a fatal incident which occurred during anchor handling operations. The incident occurred on an anchor handling tug (AHT) whilst crew were attempting to disconnect an anchor buoy weighing 1.4 tons from its pennant wire shortly after retrieval.

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Apr 082010
 
image

Ijsselstroom - Skipper's competency was not assessed

Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Board, has released its report into the capsize of the tug Ijsselstroom in the port of Peterhead 14 June 2009 and concluded that the skipper whose knowledge and experience had not been assessed, used an inherently unstable operation without a bridle arrangement that might have prevented the vessel girting, and did not use the emergency brake lift control when the tug got into difficulties.

Says the MAIB synopsis:

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