NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations on Pilot Fatigue, Bridge Design

 Accident, Accident report, fatigue, maritime safety news, pilot, pilotage  Comments Off on NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations on Pilot Fatigue, Bridge Design
Nov 132011

A swathe of new safety recommendation have been issued by the US National Transportation Safety Board in the wake of its report on the Eagle Otome/Dixie Vengeance incident in January 2010. The recommendation cover pilot fatigue, vessel traffic control systems and the suitability of the Sabines-Neches Channel, among others.

On Saturday, January 23, 2010, about 0935 central standard time, the 810-foot-long oil tankship Eagle Otome collided with the 597-foot-long general cargo vessel Gull Arrow at the Port of Port Arthur, Texas. A 297-foot-long barge, the Kirby 30406, which was being pushed by the towboat Dixie Vengeance, subsequently collided with the Eagle Otome. The tankship was inbound in the Sabine-Neches Canal with a load of crude oil en route to an ExxonMobil facility in Beaumont, Texas. Two pilots were on board, as called for by local waterway protocol. When the Eagle Otome approached the Port of Port Arthur, it experienced several unintended heading diversions culminating in the Eagle Otome striking the Gull Arrow, which was berthed at the port unloading cargo.

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Aug 042011

The damaged pilot ladder

A recent incident occurred on a Platform Supply Vessel where the pilot ladder on the starboard side parted whilst the pilot was attempting to board the vessel by means of this ladder. This resulted in the pilot falling backwards approximately 2 metres onto the deck of the pilot boat where he was caught by the pilot boat deckhand.

The pilot suffered whiplash injuries and the pilot boat deckhand suffered slight injuries to his neck and lower back. However, there was a high potential that this incident could have resulted in more serious injury to the pilot and pilot boat deckhand, including the possibility of fatalities.

Whilst the PSV was underway in Aberdeen Bay proceeding at approximately 5 knots in a South Westerly direction towards the entrance to the harbour, the two on duty ABs deployed the starboard pilot ladder over the vessel’s side at a height of 1.5m above the water line.

The vessel then altered course by two points to starboard to create a lee for the pilot boat and the pilot boat came alongside the vessel’s starboard side.

The pilot then attempted to board the vessel by means of the pilot ladder but when one foot was on the bottom of the ladder and whilst attempting to place his other foot on the ladder, the ladder parted causing the pilot to fall backwards onto the pilot boat where he was caught by the pilot boat deckhand. Continue reading »

Atlantic Blue Grounding

 Accident, Accident report, ATSB, Australia, grounding, pilot, pilotage  Comments Off on Atlantic Blue Grounding
Dec 202010

Masters, of course, are at the pointy end of any sharp stick poking around after an accident and, in some jurisdictions, can be detained for more than a year even when not accused of a criminal act. MAC was, therefore, interested to note a part of the Australian Transport Safety Board’s report into the grounding of the tanker Atlantic Blue at Kirkcaldie Reef, Torres Strait in February, 2009, while under pilotage that does not seem to have it even into the maritime media:

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InterManager Welcomes New Pilotage Standards

 maritime safety news, pilot, pilotage  Comments Off on InterManager Welcomes New Pilotage Standards
Dec 172010

Captain Kuba Szymanski: “We welcome this very important initiative by pilots for pilots".

A new international accreditation scheme for maritime pilots has been welcomed by InterManager, the international trade association for third‐party and in‐house ship managers.

The International Standard for Maritime Pilot Organisations (ISPO) has been developed by Pilot organisations in major ports in conjunction with Lloyd’s
Register. Ports throughout the world are working to adopt the ISPO Code, which accredited its first pilotage district (Rotterdam) in 2005. This month sees  the accreditation of the first UK pilotage district, The Association of Forth Pilots.

ISPO introduces an internationally‐agreed standard which is transparent to all customers – including ship managers, shipsʹ Masters, ship owners, oil majors and port operators. The scheme is specific and relevant to pilotage.

Captain Kuba Szymanski, Secretary General of InterManager, said: “We welcome this very important initiative by pilots for pilots. We believe it is essential to have international standards to ensure that worldwide excellence is promoted for pilot organisations, in the same way that InterManager promotes excellence among its members. This initiative will be well‐received by the industry and especially shipsʹ Masters and their managers who have long recognised the need for pilotage standards.”

Collision: Birthe Theresa/Vasi — Sucking Goes Under The Microscope After Pilot Error-

 Accident, Accident report, collision, grounding, pilot, pilotage  Comments Off on Collision: Birthe Theresa/Vasi — Sucking Goes Under The Microscope After Pilot Error-
Dec 122010
Birthe Thres and Vasia

Top: Vasia, Bottom: Birthe Theresa

Hydrodynamic forces between ships traversing the Kiel Canal should be studied, says Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation. The report also highlights responsibility of pilots conducting vessels whose masters do not understand German and the role of Vessel Traffic System operators.

To cut to the chase, while the Cyprus-flagged tanker  Vasi was overtaking the Singapore-flagged Birthe Theresa in the relatively narrow and shallow canal, the latter suddenly picked up speed, went to port and contacted Vasi. For around seven minutes the two vessels continued stuck together until Birthe Theresa went to starboard and ran aground on the canal embankment.

Says the BSU report: “…when the overtaking manoeuvre was almost complete, i.e. the Vasi’s stern was abreast with the bow of the Birthe Theresa, the overtaken vessel developed a strong, inward turning yaw-moment, which is typical in this phase. This led to the Birthe Theresa yawing to port and heading for the overtaking Vasi.

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Crete Cement Grounding: Tired Pilot, Charts Uncorrected, Compromised Water-tight Integrity

 Accident, Accident report, fatigue, grounding, pilot, pilotage  Comments Off on Crete Cement Grounding: Tired Pilot, Charts Uncorrected, Compromised Water-tight Integrity
May 202010

cretecementSystems to prevent a pilot’s fatigue, an officer of the watch distracted by other duties, an undermanned bridge and uncorrected charts led to the grounding of the Bahamas-flagged Crete Cement on the south-eastern tip of Aspond Island. She was able to continue but flooding due to compromised watertight integrity led to intentional beaching in the Grisebubukta bay off Fagerstrand.

A joint investigation by the Accident Investigation Board of Norway and the Bahamas Maritime Authority says: “In the early morning of 19 November 2008, the Crete Cement was heading for Slemmestad, after having taken on board approximately 5,000 tonnes of cement at Norcem Brevik.
There were 13 crew on board, including a pilot. The bridge was manned by the pilot, the officer of the watch and a lookout. On passing Digerud, the course should have been altered to starboard to pass between Digerud and Aspond Island. This was not done, and the Crete Cement ran aground at the south-eastern tip of Aspond Island at 06.31.

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Apr 262010

Skawpilot I

Three lessons emerge from the report from the Danish Maritime Authority, DMA, into an incident in which a pilot fell overboard because his backpack caught in boarding arrangements and was saved from hypothermia by the timely actions of the pilot boat crew: backpacks may not be a good idea, thermal protection isn’t much use if you leave your pants off and ‘procedure creep’ can create hazardous situations.

The pilot used a self-inflating lifejacket. Apparently the lifejacket did not inflate automatically. It was possible to inflate the lifejacket manually by pulling the release-cord. It has not been ascertained whether the reason for the lifejacket not self-inflating was because of the pilot pulling the release-cord before the lifejacket could register being in the water, or if the missing automatic release was caused by other factors.

One result of the investigation is that only the online version of the DANPILOT handbook, the Fartøjshåndbogen, is to be regarded as authoritative.

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Is Silence The Greatest Pilot Error?

 maritime safety, pilot, pilotage  Comments Off on Is Silence The Greatest Pilot Error?
Apr 142010

Hugues Cauvier

Reporting near-misses and unsafe conditions has proven to help reduce serious accidents. In the case of pilots, legal issues get in the way of reporting close calls says St-Lawrence River Pilot Hugues Cauvier, of pivot point fame, calls for greater transparency.

Says Hugues: “I would like to share some thoughts with you gentlemen whom I feel may be concerned by the title subject. It might be naive to hope that the regulations can be changed but stirring the idea may be better than doing nothing at all.

I will be delighted to read your reactions if any of you feel like sharing them (Use the MAC contact from, or the ConReps form). Continue reading »

Federal Kivalina Grounding – Bridge Team Lost Control – No Passage Planning

 Accident, Accident report, charts, ENC, grounding, navigation, passage plan, pilot, pilotage  Comments Off on Federal Kivalina Grounding – Bridge Team Lost Control – No Passage Planning
Feb 252010

Federal Kivalina aground

Bulk carrier Federal Kivalina ran aground at 0510 hours on 6 October 2008 at Årsundøya in Møre and Romsdal county, Norway, while under pilotage as the ship’s electrician analysed an alleged fault in the AIS. Norway’s Accident Investigation Board highlights bridge team management, passage planning and the master-pilot exchange as vectors in the incident.

After boarding the vessel the pilot tried to connect his laptop computer to the ship’s AIS using the pilot plug but failed and reported the problem to the master. The master called the ship’s electrician who attempted to locate the fault.

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