Apr 112012

Refloating of Clonlee at 1000 on the rising tide

What the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch calls “a minimalistic approach …to the objectives of the ISM Code”, combined with a repetitive schedule that produced complacency, a cognitively overloaded Master, an electrical blackout and the lack of manuals for the power supply and distribution system, led to the grounding of the feeder containership Clonlee as she entered the Port of Tyne, England in March 2011.

The bridge and engine room teams did not use the emergency instructions checklist
after the grounding and the engine room team were not aware that the vessel was

Says the MAIB report synopsis”At 0110 on 16 March 2011, the Isle of Man registered feeder container vessel Clonlee suffered an electrical blackout as she entered the Port of Tyne, England. The ship’s engineers were unable to restore the ship’s power immediately and the vessel ran aground on Little Haven Beach at about 6 to 7 knots. The grounding caused no injuries and the vessel’s hull remained intact.The probable cause of the electrical power failure was an intermittent electrical fault within the ship’s electrical power supply and distribution systems. Clonlee ran aground because the power failure occurred within the confined waters of the harbour entrance and the master was unable to stop the vessel.
The ship’s critical systems had not been operated, tested or maintained in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions or the requirements of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. Copies of the manufacturer’s manuals for the electrical power supply and
distribution systems were not held on board Clonlee because the ship’s owners had not translated them into the ship’s working language.

The repetitive nature of the vessel’s operation, coupled with a minimalistic approach taken by the company to the objectives of the ISM Code, led to a complacent attitude being taken to navigational practices and safety management. The bridge team did not plan or execute
Clonlee’s approach to the Port of Tyne in accordance with the ship’s safety management system, international maritime regulations or local requirements. The port entry was unsafe and unnecessarily endangered the ship, her crew and the environment.

The ship’s machinery had not been prepared for manoeuvring and the deck crew were not standing by prior to entering the harbour. The two-man bridge team was under-resourced to respond to the emergency situation. The master was cognitively overloaded and lost his
situational awareness. The lack of emergency preparedness and effective training drills led to a total breakdown of internal communications, which resulted in the failure to ‘let go’ an anchor and prevented a full damage assessment being carried out.

Many of the factors that had contributed to this accident had been previously identified on several occasions during external audits and inspections. The Isle of Man Ship Registry and Germanischer Lloyd have implemented processes to ensure non-conformity notes are
raised for all identified ISM Code non-compliances, in accordance with the requirements of the Code.

The Port of Tyne Ltd has amended its port passage plan to include the port’s seaward approaches, and has taken action to promulgate the amendments to its port users and ensure that its VTS operators closely monitor, and where necessary challenge the intentions of vessels approaching the port in the future.
Recommendations have been made to Clonlee’s owners, North Atlantic Shipping Ltd, aimed at addressing the atmosphere of complacency identified on its vessels and improving safety culture through effective safety management and training.

MAIB Report

See also:

Luminous Grounds After Lights Go Out

QM2 Explosion/Powerloss: “critical equipment must ‘fail safe’,

QCV Closure Lead To Blackout, Contact

Moondance Grounding: Complacency and Communications

ERRV Contact: Master Unaware of Autopilot

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