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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Jul 302014

westerntuggerTug tows generate such immense forces that when something goes wrong it goes very wrong and often tragically.In the case of Western Tugger a deckhand suffered fatal injuries while trying to release a tow wire attached to a capsized barge in a report from TSB Canada.

This was the third time that Western Tugger had towed the barge Arctic Lift I. This time the welded steel barge was loaded with rebar and bundled wood and the voyage went without problems for the next six days.

On 10 May at 0400, the mate on watch verified visually that the barge was towing normally.Footnote 10 Shortly after that, heavy fog rolled in, and the mate was unable to see the barge again during the watch. The master arrived on the bridge at about 0545, but was unable to see the barge. The mate left the bridge shortly after the master took over the watch. Continue reading »

Explorathor Sinking, High Speed On The Rocks

 Accident, Accident report, Canada, contact/allison, Sinking  Comments Off on Explorathor Sinking, High Speed On The Rocks
Aug 302010

Explorathor sinks

About an hour after hitting one or more of three rocks at 28 knots the master of the whale-watching passenger vessel Explorathor realised his vessel was sinking. Canada’s Transport Safety Board has issued a report with a number of lessons worth wider coverage.

Of note: “When navigating in close proximity to shore and/or navigation hazards, best practices dictate that bridge personnel, while taking into consideration the prevailing circumstances and conditions, should demonstrate increased vigilance and heightened awareness. This includes:

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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


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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Archie Gets Marine Safety Award

 Canada, training  Comments Off on Archie Gets Marine Safety Award
Apr 272010

imageArchie Dickson has received Transport Canada’s Marine Safety Award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Canadian marine safety. The award was presented at a ceremony held in Ottawa today at the biannual meeting of the Canadian Marine Advisory Council.

“I am pleased to recognize Mr. Dickson as this year’s award recipient,” said Canada’s Transport Minister John Baird. “His vision, accomplishments and exceptional dedication to seafarer training make him very deserving of this prestigious award.”

For over two decades, Mr. Dickson was instrumental in developing and delivering high-quality training for seafarers at Georgian College’s Great Lakes and International Marine Training Centre in Owen Sound, Ontario, where he consistently provided students with the best possible tools for their careers.

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The Little Fireboat That Couldn’t – ISO Standards Lack Risk Factors

 Accident, Accident report, Canada, capsize  Comments Off on The Little Fireboat That Couldn’t – ISO Standards Lack Risk Factors
Nov 282009

m08m0062_photo_1Stability standards of the International Standardization Organization’s ISO 12217-1, Small Craft—Stability and Buoyancy Assessment and Categorization, and the Construction Standards for Small Vessels (TP 1332) lack some risk factors that may have an impact on small vessel stability. Small vessels that are assessed solely against these standards may meet the criteria yet have insufficient stability warns the The Transportation Safety Board of Canada, TSB, investigation into the capsize of  Fireboat 08-448B during training and familiarization exercises in Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia on the morning of 17 September 2008.

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Masters May Be Liable For Seafarer Deaths

 accident reporting, Canada, enclosed space, fire, oil tanker  Comments Off on Masters May Be Liable For Seafarer Deaths
Jul 072008

Captain Gough Everett Wellon, master of a 76,000 tonnes Newfoundland shuttle oil tanker, Kometik, has been found guilty of violating Canadian labour laws in an incident that led to the death of a deckhand and serious injury of a welder in a fire on 8th April 2006. It’s a reminder that in certain jurisdictions a master can be found legally liable under local labor codes if crew don’t follow safety procedures and are killed or injured.

Kometik, owned by Canship-Ugland, services the Hibernia offshore oil platform. While undergoing routine maintenance in Conception Bay a deckhand and a contract welder were welding a steel bracket a cargo hold when a flash fire occurred, killing the deckhand and severely burning the welder. Captain Wellon was subsequently charged with 18 counts under the Canadian Labor Code, pleased guilty to two and the remaining charges were dropped.

Fines of CA$13,750 were imposed on Captain Wellon on each of two charges: failing to ensure that electrical equipment had been disconnected and failure to ensure that the welding did not present a danger to others on board.

In April the ship’s former Chief Mate, Raymond Riggs, was fined CA$20,000 on similar charges.

It is understood that a marine chemist boarded the vessel and tank the No. 4 cargo tank but not the No. 5 tank where the incident occurred. The tank was tested by a crew members before entry but questions remain about the equipment and the seafarer’s ability to use it. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has not yet issued its investigation report on th incident.

Dec 172007

The Swedish Club has sent out a member alert after a seafarer was found with porn on his flash drive. Gives a whole new meaning to deep blue sea.

The alert goes thusly:

Del Rosario & Del Rosario has provided us with the following information courtesy of Barko International Inc.We would like to inform you about an unfortunate incident that happened with one of our manned vessels calling Canadian port.

Said vessel was detained at Prince Rupert, Canada because of pornographic material found in one of the crew’s USB flash drive during Custom Officers’ inspection. As a result, concerned crew’s seaman book and passport were taken and he was brought ashore for investigation. Everything from inspection to apprehension happened in the span of about three hours. Concerned crew is set for trial a day after arrest. If found guilty, he faces minimum penalty of CD$25,000 with deportation and blacklisting with Canadian immigration.