Two interim reports have been issued by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch giving factual data on the foundering of the MV Swanland in the Irish Sea in November 2011 and the collision between the ACX Hibiscus and Hyundai Discovery in the eastern approaches to te Singapore Strait the following month.
Six lives were lost when the Swanland suffered structural failure an sank in rough seas.
The interim report descries the event: “Swanland was in the Irish Sea making good a course of 206° at a speed of around 5 knots over the ground (Figure 4). The vessel was heading into a south-westerly gale force wind with gusts of about 50 knots. The predicted tidal stream was south-south-west at a rate of 2.2 knots, and the sea was rough or very rough, with a significant wave height of approximately 4m. Swanland was pitching into the oncoming seas, but she was not slamming. She was also occasionally rolling up to an angle of approximately 6° and yawing between 10° and 15° of her intended heading.
Shortly before 0200, Swanland’s bow struck a large wave, after which her bow dipped as the wave moved along the length of the vessel. The bow then struck a second large wave. As the bow rose again, the officer of the watch (OOW) saw the starboard side bulwark amidships fold outboard. The forward most section of the aft hatch covers had also lifted and the bow appeared higher than usual. The OOW sounded the vessel’s general alarm in order to alert the rest of the crew, who were in their cabins.
Says MAIB:” The collection of a large amount of evidence is complete. However, the results of complex technical analyses of Swanland’s condition and longitudinal strength have yet to be finalised. Based on the evidence obtained and findings of these analyses, the MAIB’s investigation aims to determine the causes of Swanland’s catastrophic structural failure, and why only two of the vessel’s eight crew survived. It is anticipated that this work will be completed by the end of 2012.Thereafter, the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents intends to identify appropriate safety issues and develop recommendations designed to prevent similar accidents occurring in the future.
It is envisaged that the final investigation report will be published in April 2013, following consultation with interested parties.
The investigation into the collision between the containerships ACX Hibiscus and Hyundai Discovery is being carried out with Panama Maritime Authority.
Visibility at the time was restricted by localised heavy rain. Both vessels’ officers of the watch took action to avoid the collision
only after they saw the other vessel emerge from the rain shower at very close range. This was too late to be effective. Both vessels were severely damaged; nobody was injured and no pollution was reported.
Says the interim report: “The United Kingdom registered Hyundai Discovery was inbound to Singapore and the Panamanian registered ACX Hibiscus was outbound from Singapore. The bridge watches on both vessels were being kept by chief officers.
ACX Hibiscus’s chief officer, unaware of Hyundai Discovery’s course and position, turned his vessel to the north to follow its planned route. He did not conduct an adequate check that it was safe to turn before he began to alter course. Despite being alerted to Hyundai Discovery’s position by his own third officer and several radio warnings from Hyundai Discovery’s chief officer,
ACX Hibiscus’s chief officer continued to turn his vessel into Hyundai Discovery’s path.
The draft of the investigation’s final report is currently with stakeholders for a period of consultation prior to publication. It is envisaged that the final investigation report will be published in February 2013.