Apr 102012

The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Board’s latest Safety Digest is, like its predecessors, insightful and informed with a certain British quirkiness that makes it highly readable. Among the accidents and lessons in the first edition of 2012 is an issue lose to MAC’s heart: confined spaces and, in particular, the hazards posed by adjacent spaces.

In this case ‘panting’ during rough weather was involved. It has happened before (See The Case of the Tablets Of Love). In this case, ferrous metal turnings described as ‘steaming’ were loaded into the cargo hold. However, they were presumed to be scrap metal, therefore non-hazardous, as opposed to coming under IMDG Code Class 4.2. Continue reading »

Feb 272012

Costa Concordia : IMO is watching

Preliminary results of the Italian administration’s investigation into the Cost Concordia are expected to be present at the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, which meets for its 90th session from 16-25 May this year.

Italian authorities allowed the IMO to be represented as an observer on the body overseeing the casualty investigation in order to monitor progress closely and remain abreast of emerging issues, as they arise.

Italy provides for one central commission, the Marine Casualty Investigation Central Board which is under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, and a number of local commissions dealing with marine casualty investigation. The members of the local commissions are appointed by the harbour masters which, as members of the Coast Guard, are part of the maritime administration; the commission members are partly deployed by the maritime administration through the Coast Guard and partly by experts not necessarily of administrational background.

Italy has no full-time maritime casualty investors but does have four employees who have other duties as well as ad hoc investigators who can be appointed from outside.

Three days after the Costa Concordia tragedy ​IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu urged Italian authorities to “carry out the casualty investigation covering all aspects of this accident and provide the findings to the IMO under the provisions of SOLAS as soon as possible.”

He has included an additional item on “Passenger Ship Safety” on the agenda of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, which meets for its 90th session from 16-25 May this year. This will provide an opportunity for IMO members in the MSC to consider any issues arising. Sekimizu has also urged all IMO Member States to ensure that their current national safety regulations and procedures are being implemented fully and effectively, including those aiming at ensuring safe operations on board.

Sekimizu also opened a channel of communication with passenger ship operators through the Cruise Lines International Association,CLIA, immediately following the Costa Concordia accident.

CLIA itself has launched a Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review , the first outcome of which is a new emergency drill policy requiring mandatory musters for embarking passengers prior to departure from port.  This new muster drill policy, voluntarily initiated by the associations’ members, exceeds current legal requirements, which mandate a muster of passengers occur within 24 hours of passenger embarkation.
Mre recommendations are expected to follow.


CCNI Guayas Fatality – Ship/Bridge Design A Killer In A Typhoon

 Accident, Accident report, accident reporting, fatality, weather  Comments Off on CCNI Guayas Fatality – Ship/Bridge Design A Killer In A Typhoon
Sep 082011

Bridge after the accident

Bigger containerships may mean more hazards for those on the bridge warns Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, BSU, in its newly-released report on the death of a third officer about the CCNI Guayas in June this year. It is the third similar incident to be investigated by the BSU since late 2009.

With the vessel rolling in typhoon Koppu at up to 35 degrees with periods of eight seconds, the officer lost his hold, slipped and was tossed back and forth across the bridge until being stopped by the master and placed on a chair. The officer later died of his injuries.

Initially, the third officer did not appear to be badly hurt and it was only after he had been placed in a chair by the master that he began to lose consciousness.

Most obvious of the lessons is to ensure that there are enough handrails on a bridge and to ensure that papers and other items are stowed appropriately. The photograph of the bridge after the incident shows a sea of objects that would have been swept across the floor of the bridge and may have led to the third officer falling.

Continue reading »

Jun 072011

From 17 June this year all member states of the European Union must implement Directive 2009/18/EC to have independent safety investigation bodies, to investigate very serious casualties and to publish reports within 12 months. They must also notify marine casualties and incidents to the European Maritime Casualty Information Platform, EMCIP, a non-publicly available database to store and analyse accident-related data about marine casualties and incidents.

EMCIP has been running on a voluntary basis for a couple of years, and becomes mandatory on 17 June. Ahead of the deadline, on 4-6 and 25-27 May, the European Maritime Safety Agency, EMSA, hosted 23 delegates from Member States in Lisbon to demonstrate the new database functions enabling them to compare the new and old versions, and test-run new features.

The EU Directive has raised concernes among some leading maritime accident investigators. Some investigations have taken more than the year mandated by the directive. To put that into context, in 2009 the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch handled 1663 marine accidents and incidents  covered by a small team of 39 people on a tiny budget of £4m. This year, like all UK government departs, deep cuts in the budget were demanded. The new regime may well lead investigative agencies in a conflict of meeting the demands of the directive within current budgetary constraints.





Apr 112011

ASTORIA, Ore. — The Coast Guard is investigating an allision involving the tugboat Clarkston and the deep draft cargo vessel Genco Marine on the Columbia River near Vancouver, Wash., Thursday.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, Ore., received a call at approximately 9:30 a.m., reporting the allision at Columbia River mile marker 102.5, near the Vancouver anchorage, with possible damage to the Clarkston.

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland, Ore., is currently investigating.

The Genco Marine was at anchor during the time of the allision.

Gard Warns On VDR Failures

 Accident, accident reporting, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Gard Warns On VDR Failures
Mar 282011

Do you know how to save your Voyage Data Recorder information? In an alert to its members Gard P&I Club  expresses concern over the number of VDR failures and the issue of whether masters know how to save critical data after an accident.

Gard says that it has experienced: “a number of cases where vessels have been unsuccessful in both saving and retrieving vital VDR information.

Failure to be able to produce VDR information may lead to counterparty allegations that might have been prevented and/or proceeded against in a less costly manner had it not been for the lack of VDR evidence”.

In one recent case a large container vessel ran aground. On grounding, the “save” button on the VDR was pressed in accordance with the procedures, but three days later, when a shore technician was contracted to extract the VDR data recordings, it was found that the data had never been saved. It also turned out that the master was not familiar with  VDR and that he had never saved data before. The relevant VDR data from the incident had been lost.

Says Gard: “.. lack of understanding and limited in-depth knowledge of the equipment often lead to loss of VDR data even where the equipment is in full working order. Where the VDR information has been successfully preserved, the retrieving and downloading of the data often offers a challenge.

Most VDRs require a manufacturer’s technician to attend in order to download the data. The fact that there are  numerous manufacturers and various model types requiring different software versions to be able to view the data make it difficult to retrieve the information and data. VDR systems also have a built-in alarm function that is automatically triggered in the event of a malfunction of the system, however, in some cases the VDR alert function was not triggered by the hardware malfunction.

The VDR loop function may offer an option to retain data from a longer period of time than the 12 hour window required by the IMO performance standard. By adjusting this default the Master has an increased opportunity to preserve the data.

Masters should be reminded that the records will be overwritten within the implemented time frame if the data is not promptly saved.

Gard recommends:

Regular service by approved service company. To ensure that the VDR is in full working order, tests should be conducted regularly by an approved service supplier to verify the accuracy, duration and recoverability of the recorded data. The contact details of technicians and manufacturer should be easy available.

VDR Software should also be available at relevant location onboard/ashore.

Plan for onboard familiarisation and drills.

Onboard drills should be undertaken regularly, ideally in combination with above mentioned regular service of the VDR unit, to verify that the bridge team is familiar with the procedures and the VDR equipment.

Saving of data should be a part of the emergency response procedures and emergency drills.

Read the full Gard advisory here

See Also:

VDR Failures May Be Catching the Wind

VDR Failures

Maersk Kendal – Complacency, BTM, Culture And VDRs

Princess Of The Stars – Dead Masters Can Speak Through VDRs



Transport Malta investigates the grounding of the Maltese ship Oliva

 Accident, accident reporting, bulk carrier, grounding, Pollution  Comments Off on Transport Malta investigates the grounding of the Maltese ship Oliva
Mar 272011

Transport Malta is investigating the grounding and subsequent complete hull failure of the Malta-registered Oliva, a 40,170 gross tonnage bulk carrier built in 2009, which occurred on 16 March 2011 at around 0510 local time on Nightingale Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. No injuries were reported and all twenty two crew members on board the vessel are said to be safe. As a precautionary measure, all crew was evacuated from the ship prior to the structural failure. Continue reading »

Rumours May Stifle Japan Recovery Says JSA

 Accident, accident reporting  Comments Off on Rumours May Stifle Japan Recovery Says JSA
Mar 252011

Japan’s Shipowners Association, JSA, fears that false information and rumours circulating on the internet, including maritime-related discussion groups, will slow Japan’s recovery from the recent series of devastating tragedies that hit the country.

In a letter to the International Chamber of Shipping/International Shipping Federation the JSA says: “…we are afraid that, if we leave prevailing of such rumours, it will disturb the early recovery of normal lives for the survivors, who are desperately in need for the hearty aiding materials from all over the world. Such situation should never be allowed from humane view points. The rumours will also eventually bring irrecoverable serious adverse economical results, which may include jeopardizing of seafarers’ stable employment”. Continue reading »

New Danish maritime accident investigation board on its way

 Accident, accident reporting, maritime accidents, Maritime Investigation  Comments Off on New Danish maritime accident investigation board on its way
Mar 072011

For Denmark a new broomThrough a new bill, Danish Minister of Economic and Business Affairs Brian Mikkelsen will establish a new independent unit for investigating maritime accidents.

Through a new bill, Denmark’s Minister of Economic and Business Affairs Brian Mikkelsen will establish a new independent unit for investigating maritime accidents.

The just presented bill proposes the establishment of an independent maritime accident investigation board. The new investigation board is to replace the Division for Investigation of Maritime Accidents that investigates maritime accidents today and which falls under the Danish Maritime Authority.

The bill is presented on the basis of an EU Directive. The purpose of the Directive is to ensure that maritime accidents are investigated thoroughly at the EU level and that the investigations are carried out by investigation units that are independent of the national maritime administrations. The investigations are to enhance safety at sea and contribute to avoiding similar accidents in the future.

More information

The bill – L xx – is available in Danish from the webpage of the Danish Parliament (the Folketinget): www.ft.dk.