Maria M Grounding – Confusion, Culture and Toxic Leadership

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Mar 222017

Maria M Bridge – bad attitude, poor communications

We are republishing some of our posts on Toxic Masters. Have you a horror story about dysfunctional leaders aboard or ashore? Tell us in confidence at, we’d like to hear what you have to say – and do share the post with your friends in the industry.

Confusion between rate of turn and rudder indicators, cultural insensitivity, the master’s insufficient English, a non-functioning AIS and VTS operators that did not react to the developing situation were key factors in the 12 July 2009 grounding of the Italian-registered chemical tanker Maria M says the Swedish Transport Agency report on the incident.

It was not a good start to the master’s first day in command of the vessel.

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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 »

Chantaco Grounding: The Charterer’s Contribution

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Jun 162011


Track of the Chantaco: Commercial pressures helped put her aground.

Due worsening weather the master of the chemical tanker Chantaco wanted to go alongside the terminal at Oxelösund, Sweden. Afraid of incurring costs the vessel’s charterers refused to allow him to do so. That decision, says Sweden’s Transport Agency, contributed to the grounding of the ship on 9 November 2010 after in dragged anchor.


While there were other contributing factors, including increasing winds during afternoon and night, the master’s decision to anchor too close to shallow water, and no recommended alert around the anchor position as well as the rolling of the vessel, commercial pressure put the safety of the vessel and crew at risk.

Full report


Pirate Curse Hits Golden Blessing

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Jun 282010

Schleswig-Holstein on patrol

In the early hours of 28 June, pirates took control of the MV Golden Blessing approximately 90 nautical miles off the northern Somali coast. On notification from the Master of the MV Golden Blessing that pirates were on board, the EU NAVFOR German warship Schleswig-Holstein immediately launched their helicopter and reported sighting suspected pirates on board the MV Golden Blessing.

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Many Chem Tanker Vents Not IBC/SOLAS Compliant

 Accident, Accident report, explosion, maritime safety  Comments Off on Many Chem Tanker Vents Not IBC/SOLAS Compliant
Apr 282010

imageVentilation systems in many chemical tankers are not built in accordance with IBC code or SOLAS requirements says the Casualty Investigation Unit of Sweden’s Transportstyrelsen, Transport Agency, releasing its report into the overpressure and explosion aboard the chemical tanker Vingatank on 23 February, 2010.

Says STA: “the chemical tanker Vingatank arrived at Brofjorden on the Swedish west coast after a ballast trip from Kristiansand in south Norway. It was very cold with a temperature of 10ºC below zero.

The second officer checked the P/V valves after arrival and the loading of vacuum gasoil started at 20.05 on 22 February.

Just before midnight a high pressure alarm sounded from tank no. 2 port. The OOW shifted the loading over to tanks no. 3 starboard and port. He reset the alarm and ordered the AB to check the P/V valve. The AB saw fumes coming out of the valve which made the OOW think that it was OK to commence loading. The pressure in no. 2 port tank was normal when the loading of the tank started after the first alarm.

After a while there was a second high pressure alarm from tank no. 2 port. Also at this time the AB saw fumes coming out of the P/V valve. The OOW then assumed that the sensor did not work properly.

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