Poor situational awareness and missing or deactivated barriers led to the collision between the Malta-registered general cargo ship Marti Princess and the German-registered containership Renate Schultze off Bozcaada Island on
27 June 2009 says a joint report by Transport Malta and Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation.
The 6,019 GT Marti Princess, and the 14,619 GT Renate Schulte collided on 27 June 2009 whilst navigating in the Aegean Sea close to Bozcaada island. Marti Princess was southbound. Renate Schulte was northbound. The weather was predominantly dark with no moonlight although visibility was reported to be between five to seven miles.
Marti Princess was proceeding at about 10.5 knots and Renate Schulte was doing about 16.5 knots.
On Marti Princess, the OOW and the master had just made an alteration in course to pass behind the stern of another ship – Ilgaz, and was coming back to the original heading. Both crew members did not see Renate Schulte ahead until a few minutes
before the collision.
On board Renate Schulte, the OOW was monitoring Ilgaz. Marti Princess was noticed at about 2200 on radar when she was between four and five nautical miles apart. When the ships were about two nautical miles away, Renate Schulte called Marti Princess by her name on the VHF radio on more than one occasion to establish her intentions. However, no reply was heard and some time later, the look-out reported that he could see both sidelights – evident that Marti Princess was dead ahead on a reciprocal course.
At about 2209, both ships began to take evasive actions but now, very close to one another, there was insufficient room to turn and avoid the collision. At 2210, both ships collided, with Renate Schulte’s bow striking the port side of Marti Princess’s cargo area and missing the accommodation block by a few metres. The impact caused severe damage to Marti Princess in way of cargo hold no. 2. Renate Schulte sustained damage in her bulbous bow area. Both vessels were unable to proceed and salvors were contracted to separate the two vessels. No injuries and no pollution were reported.
The report concludes that the collision was the result of a series of decisions on both vessels, which were based on inaccurate situation awareness.
- Marti Princess did not monitor the developing situation with Ilgaz in order to determine whether or not there was a risk of collision.
- No data on the accident was stored on the VDR installed on board Marti Princess.
- The early alteration of Marti Princess to her previous course resulted in a close quarters situation with Renate Schulte.
- The OOW on board Renate Schulte focussed on Ilgaz, had no perception of risk of encounter with Marti Princess and was distracted by a VHF call.
- Albeit late in her evasive manoeuvre, Renate Schulte was restricted to alter course further to her starboard because of the Ilgaz.
- Neither vessel use any signals to attract one another’s attention.
- The foci of the two crew members on Marti Princess was limited to Ilgaz, whilst missing on the wider context which included the Renate Schulte.
- The OOWs on board the two vessels experienced a time-pressured situation. Under such conditions, risk is not quantified accurately.
- It could not be established whether or not fatigue contributed to the inaccurate situation awareness on board Marti Princess.
- The missing interface between the AIS equipment and the radar on board Marti Princess augmented the problem of inaccurate situation awareness.
- The information as displayed on the AIS equipment on board Marti Princess augmented the problem of inaccurate situation awareness.