Jan 302013
Grounded, thanks to bugs

Grounded, thanks to bugs

For the first time since it was put aboard a vessel a fast rescue craft, or daughter craft was launched to carry personnel ashore in Aberdeen. Its engine stopped, due to fuel contamination, and a second craft was sent to tow it. The second craft ran into trouble when its propeller hit a rock and both craft ended up grounding without injury to personnel but significant damage to the craft.

The following investigation showed that the daughter craft had been put onboard over a year earlier in preparation for expanding the role of the vessel to include Safety Standby activities but had not been commissioned or used. During this time water and contamination built up in the DC fuel tanks. The Management of Change process was not utilised during the planning for commissioning the DC and safety standby equipment.

Says a synopsis of the report isssued by the Marine Safety Forum, MSF, “Standard procedures for personnel transfers were not followed; ‘the rescue craft should not leave the parent vessel until proved fully operational”.

The Risk Assessment for the operation was inadequate and did not identify the potential hazards;-

 The potential for water to have built up in DC fuel tanks during the period of inactivity was not recognised
 The position chosen for the launch of the DC was limited by vessel movements in the vicinity and the tidal set and current drift pattern in the area was neither fully understood nor taken into account.
 There was an inadequate contingency plan in the event of something going wrong during the personnel transfer.

There were a number of opportunities to intervene throughout, for one reason or another, these opportunities were missed and
no one stopped the job.

Whilst the crew onboard lacked knowledge and experience in ERRV operations an additional experienced ERRV crew were put
onboard to assist.

No one thought this activity was unsafe and it was considered a routine operation, although the task of operating in near coastal
areas is infrequent.


Comprehensive recommendations were made in the report and are being instigated throughout the fleet.

The following internal actions were required on all company vessels

 Discuss at your next safety meeting
 Ensure that changes to procedures and instructions that are forthcoming are well understood and complied with by all
 Review the arrangements on your vessel to ensure that water build up in fuel tanks is monitored and controlled
 Reinforce the importance of ‘Stop The Job’ and that all are clear that they are empowered to intervene

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