Nov 072014
 

Looking out of the window was not really an option for the pilot conducting the 28, 372 GRT containership Cap Blanche on the Fraser River, British Columbia, Canada, on 25 January this year. With fog reducing visibility to 150 metres he could not even see the bow of the 221.62 LOA vessel, but he did have his trusty portable pilotage unit, PPU, which he relied upon exclusively for navigation and connected it to the vessel’s AIS. But the AIS had a secret, one which put Cape Blanche on the silt at the river’s Steveston Bend.

The accident report from Canada’s Transport Safety Board brings to light a little known aspect of navigation by GPS yet one that might not have led to the grounding had the pilot not been essentially left to his own devices even when his actions conflicted with the vessel passage plan.

The PPU had a predictor function that projects the vessel’s future position by performing geometric calculations based on the vessel’s current rate of turn, position, heading, course over ground, COG, and speed over the ground, SOG. The COG and SOG are derived from GPS values that continuously fluctuate, even when the vessel maintains constant speed and course due to inherent errors and inaccuracies in the GPS. To stabilize these values, a GPS smooths these inputs to provides the user with a more stable COG and SOG.

One can often see the GPS fluctuations on a GPS-equipped tablet computer or smartphone.

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Dec 272012
 

closecall

Close calls are an indicator that something is not quite right and can head-off a potential incident but sadly too often go unreported. This safety alert from the Marine Safety Forum, MSF, is a good example of its kind.

In this case the extra Master was not aware that the Chief Officer had misunderstood his order or had understood the order but erred in carrying it out. It is an example of the fact that communication is a two-way street through command and response.

Here is the safety alert: Continue reading »

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Apr 132011
 

Watchkeepers on the bulk carrier Sheng Neng 1 were so fatigued after supervising the loading of coal at Australia’s Gladstone port that they were not fit to carry out a navigational watch, concludes the Australian Transport Safety Board’s investigation into the subsequent grounding.

No fatigue management was in place and the grounding occurred because the chief mate did not alter the ship’s course at the designated course alteration position. “His monitoring of the ship’s position was ineffective and his actions were affected by fatigue”, says ATSB.

The ship’s hull was seriously damaged by the grounding, with the engine room and six water ballast and fuel oil tanks being breached, resulting in a small amount of pollution.

At 1705 on 3 April 2010, the Chinese registered bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 grounded on Douglas Shoal, about 50 miles north of the entrance to the port of Gladstone, Queensland. The ship’s hull was seriously damaged by the grounding, with the engine room and six water ballast and fuel oil tanks being breached, resulting in a small amount of pollution.

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Is that a Gorilla On The Bridge Or Are You Just Glad To Not See Me? Intuition And The Human Element

 Accident, Bridge procedures, bridge team management, maritime safety  Comments Off on Is that a Gorilla On The Bridge Or Are You Just Glad To Not See Me? Intuition And The Human Element
Jul 282010
 

Human Element is a term often bandied about in safety circles, sometimes wrongly as a synonym for human error. Less bandied is cognitive psychology, the study of how we perceive, or do not perceive, the world around us. What it often shows is that our intuitions are dangerously flawed and the need to mitigate those hazards.

An absorbing new book, The Invisible Gorilla, by psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, is a valuable basic primer that waves big red flags for those like to believe we live in a What You See Is What You Get world. If it’ not on your bookshelf, it should be.

Chabris and Simons carried out a series of classic experiments that asked fundamental questions and got some unexpected answers.

For instance, we intuitively feel that if something outrageously obvious suddenly popped up where it shouldn’t be we would instantly see it. Let’s say it’s a video o a basketball game and your job is to count the number of times players in white pass the ball while ignoring passes made by players in black you’d obviously spot a gorilla walking among the players.

Your intuition is wrong. Continue reading »

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Nordic Express Island Strike – Two Minutes Alone Is All It Took To Make A Meal Of An Entrée

 Accident report, allision, ballast, Bridge procedures, bridge team management, Canada, grounding  Comments Off on Nordic Express Island Strike – Two Minutes Alone Is All It Took To Make A Meal Of An Entrée
May 312010
 

image

In the midst of a critical turn on 16 August 2007 to take the vessel into a channel between Entrée Island and Schooner Island the OOW of the Canadian ferry Nordic Express sent the helmsman from the bridge to call the docking crew to stations. The OOW took over the helm, a position from which he could not see the radar or the Electronic Chart Display, ECS.

Over the next two minutes the OOW had problems controlling the turn. By the time the helmsman returned to the bridge the vessel was on the desired heading but on a parallel track offset to the north east and heading for Entrée Island full-ahead.

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Feb 162010
 

imageGermany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Accident Investigation, BSU, has issued its report into the collision between the containerships Marfeeder and APL Turquoise in the Wesser Estuary. The incident occured outside Bremerhaven on the morning of 1 June 2008.

The report is currently available only in German at the BSU website. Key issues are electronic navigation and bridge team management.

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