FV Vellee Sinking – Cockroaches and Corrosion

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Feb 242012

Electrolytic corrosion on Vellee’s cylinder liner

Electrolytic corrosion shares a common characteristic with cockroaches – see one example and there’s probably a lot more under the floorboards. The crew of the fishing vessel Velee apparently found that out the hard way to judge by the latest investigation report from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

Late on 5 August 2011, the 19m trawler Vellee (Figure 1) suffered catastrophic flooding when on passage from Fraserburgh to Kilkeel. The crew received no warning of the water ingress from the vessel’s three high-level bilge alarms, and by the time the flood was discovered, the sea water level was above the main engine’s gearbox.

The crew were unable to establish the source of the water ingress and, despite making attempts to pump out the water, in the early hours of 6 August they were forced to abandon to the liferaft.

Approximately 45 minutes later the vessel sank. The crew were rescued by helicopter and delivered safely ashore at Stornoway.

Says the investigation report:”Two of the vessel’s main engine cylinder liners needed to be replaced as a consequence of severe electrolytic corrosion only days before her final voyage. It is highly probable that electrolytic corrosion had also affected the vessel’s sea water piping and associated fittings, weakening their integrity and ultimately causing a failure”.

Investigation by marine electricians had identified the probable sources of the electrolytic action and repairs were made to prevent further electrolysis. However, no further inspections were made and the owners issued no instructions to identify other areas that might have also suffered from electrolytic corrosion. Furthermore, no precautions were taken to combat the increased risk of flooding resulting from electrolytic corrosion of sea water piping and fittings. Continue reading »

Vinalines Queen – “Stark reminder” of risk

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Jan 182012

Vinalines Queen - A "Stark reminde" of risks

Last December’s loss of the supramax bulk carrier Vinalines Queen and 22 of her 23 crew off Northern Luzon in the Philippines is a “a stark reminder of the continuing dangers associated with the carriage of nickel ore” says the London P&I Club, which covered the ship.

On 10 September 2009 another of same company’s vessels, Vinalines Mighty, was forced to return to return to the port of Paradip, India, after loading iron ore fines at the port and developing a list while underway.

Prior to the casualty, last contact with the vessel was whilst on a voyage from Indonesia to China with 54,000 tonnes of ron ore fines.

At 0548 on the morning of 25 December 2011 the master of Vinalines Queen reported a 20 degree list to port with heavy winds and diverted to the Philippines. An hour later the list had reduced to 18 degrees and she was reported to be running to shore.  The master had ordered the crew to the main deck with lifejackets and lifeboats lowered. Continue reading »

Katmai Report Released – Watertight Doors Left Open

 Accident, Accident report, Sinking, watertight doors, weather  Comments Off on Katmai Report Released – Watertight Doors Left Open
Nov 142011

Katmai - sinking caused by lack of watertight integrity

Commercial fishing vessel Katmai sank because her watertight door were left open, a possibly fatigued master decided to continue fishing despite the approach of bad weather and the vessel owner had failed to ensure that master had up to date stability information and understood how to use it, concludes an investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB.

Katmai, 28 metres,  sank in bad weather in Bering Sea, more than 100 nautical miles west of Adak, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Seven of her 11 crew were lost.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the
sinking of the Katmai was the loss of the vessel’s watertight integrity because watertight doors from the main deck to the processing space and the lazarette were left open by the crew at a time when the vessel was overloaded and navigating in severe weather, which allowed water to enter the vessel resulting in progressive flooding and sinking.

Contributing to the accident was the master’s decision to continue fishing operations during the approach of severe weather rather than seeking shelter and to load twice the amount of cargo addressed in the vessel’s stability report. Also contributing to the accident was the owner’s failure to ensure that the stability information provided to the master was current and that the master understood it and operated the vessel accordingly.

Download report here

Silver Chord/Sapphire II – Danger: Empty Wheelhouse

 Accident report, collision, fishing boat, Sinking  Comments Off on Silver Chord/Sapphire II – Danger: Empty Wheelhouse
Nov 112011

Silver Chord - view ahead from the steering position

Economic and social factors continue to take preference over safety considerations in fishing vessels, says Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch in it’s report into the collision between two trawlers. It it latest of a series of accident in which wheelhouses have been left unattended.

At 1840 on 12 January 2011, the 16.84m prawn trawler Silver Chord  collided with the 14.99m prawn trawler Sapphire II ). At the time of the collision, Sapphire II was stopped in the water while her skipper, who was operating single-handed, recovered the vessel’s fishing gear. Silver Chord was making 5.5 knots as she proceeded towards Stornoway after a day’s fishing.

Sapphire II’s hull was penetrated and the fish hold quickly started to flood. Her skipper reported the accident to the coastguard, and transferred to Silver Chord before Sapphire II sank at about 1850.

Silver Chord was also damaged, but was able to return to Stornoway under her own power. There were no injuries.

The investigation identified a number of factors which contributed to the collision. These included: Continue reading »

Got Your Flares, EPIRB, VHF, Liferaft? You’re Not Safe Yet

 Accident report, capsize, maritime safety news, Sinking  Comments Off on Got Your Flares, EPIRB, VHF, Liferaft? You’re Not Safe Yet
Aug 192011

SOLAS B equipment pack

Crabber Léim an Bhradán, with two crew aboard, had every thing required for emergency communications: flares, EPIRB, VHF as well as a liferaft but none of it worked when she capsized at about 1400 on the morning of Saturday 30th October 2010. The incident serves as a cautionary tale whatever size vessel you’re on.

Her inflatable liferaft sat unsecured in a cradle atop the wheelhouse. It was not equipped with a hydrostatic release or weak-link that would result in the liferaft opening automatically and the painter was not attached to the vessel. The two crew then found themselves faced with trying to open the canister while it floated free.

One of the two men was able to cut the canister straps with a key.

Meanwhile the vessel’s EPIRB went down with the boat. It was in the wheelhouse, not in an external float-free holder, so could not float to the surface and activate.

The men finally boarded the SOLAS equipment pack in the liferaft and fired off two red parachute flares but there were no other vessels around to see them. An hour later they saw a Coast Guard helicopter and fired an orange smoke flare which was not seen by the helicopter, which was on a training flight. Continue reading »

Video: Ro-Ro Trans-Asia Malaysia Listing Before Capsize

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Aug 042011

This video is from the Philippine Coast Guard Air Group. She is said to have been hit by “big waves” which down-flooded into the engine room, stopping the engine. She listed at 25-35 degrees and eventually sank after passengers and crew were evacuated. The quick emergency response is understood to have been because of a Philippine Coast Guard person onboard who made the call.

Get Ready For The Titanic Centenary – With A Night To Remember

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Apr 082011

RMS Titanic - A night long remembered

Next year will see the centenary of the Arctic sinking of the RMS Titanic with the lost of 1,500 lives, an event that was to lead to SOLAS and the creation of the International Maritime Organisation. Currently BBC Radio 4 Extra is broadcasting an adaption of Walter Lord’s A Night To Remember that is well worth listening to.

The event remained sensitive for decades afterwards. In 1947 Cunard lent on the BBC, with the help of the Ministry of Transport and the government of Northern Ireland, to ban a radio play about the sinking. There were dire warnings about ‘damage to British shipping’, legal action threatened and the shipping conference of the time approached the BBC Board of Governors to have the play stifled. Cunard went as high as it could, to the Prime Minister. The play went ahead. Continue reading »

Lessons from Bantry Bay fishing tragedy

 Accident, fire, lifejacket, Sinking  Comments Off on Lessons from Bantry Bay fishing tragedy
Mar 072011

Castaway burns

On a calm day in Bantry Bay, Ireland, last 16 August, a fishing trip ended in death by drowning for three of the four rod anglers on board the 30-ft fibre glass motor cruiser, Castaway. But out of every tragedy at sea lessons can be learned to prevent repeat disasters and the Castaway incident is no exception. It also shows that even highly experienced mariners are not immune to unsound behaviour at sea.

One of the victims, Mike Schmidt, the Castaway’s owner, was a master mariner and his friend, Wolfgang Schroder, was also a highly experienced seafarer. The third victim, 69-year old local farmer, Richard Harman, could not swim.

At the inquest on March 2, the sole survivor, 46-year old Eddie Dziato, from Connecticut, explained that all four were forced to jump overboard when flames engulfed the vessel after a day’s fishing during which, with the exception of Mr Harman, all had been drinking beer, wine, whiskey and rum and cokes. As they headed for home about 5 p.m. they noticed the boat was taking on water and so Mr Schmidt turned on three electrical bilge pumps but within 20 minutes they saw smoke coming from behind the instrument panel in the wheelhouse. They then saw flames and insulation material begin to melt. Continue reading »

Aide-Memoire For Iron Ore Cargoes – Chinese Buyers Should Twist Supplier Arms

 capsize, Safety Alerts, Sinking  Comments Off on Aide-Memoire For Iron Ore Cargoes – Chinese Buyers Should Twist Supplier Arms
Feb 212011

Iro ore not so fines

Liquefaction of nickel and iron ores due to excess moisture continues to cost lives. One solution would be for Chinese importers to exercise their influence over their suppliers with a bit more vigour says the UK P&I Club, which has published a pocket-sized brochure to act as an aide-memoire when loading such cargoes.

Marine insurers are determined to keep the subject of dangerous bulk cargoes, and in particular nickel ores and iron ore fines, high on the Loss Prevention agenda. The UK Club’s latest initiative is an aide-mémoire for shipowners and shipmanagers in the form of a pocket leaflet that can be kept handy when a vessel is chartered to load such a cargo.
Continue reading »