Jan 192008

Total Responds to Erika Verdict

Total Responds to Erika Verdict

The French oil giant is “disappointed” that the Paris Criminal Court imposed a fine for the maritime pollution that occurred as result of the 1999 sinking of the tanker Erika.

UK – update re sinking of ICE PRINCE The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a press notice stating that the estimated clearance over the wreck of the ICE PRINCE is 46.8 meters, but that an Irish Lights vessel will examine and confirm the clearance.  In the meantime, a temporary exclusion zone of 1000 meters is in effect.  Bundles of the floating timber are breaking up, but may still present a hazard, particularly for smaller vessels.  An incident report provides further details. (1/17/08).

Bourbon Dolphin findings delayed
BBC News – UK
The publication of an official report into the sinking of the Bourbon Dolphin off Shetland has been delayed. The vessel capsized during an anchor handling

Man attempts suicide in protest at SKorea oil spill payout
A barge drifting in stormy weather smashed into the 147000-ton Hong Kong-registered tanker Hebei Spirit on December 7, causing the tanker to spill some

Harbor pilot pulled from chilly gulf
The News Herald – Panama City,FL,USA
Knowles guided a 300-foot cargo ship bound for Mexico through the St. Andrew Pass and out to sea Wednesday afternoon. The captain used a ladder to climb out

Ship Hits Bay Area Bridge…Again
(KCBS) — For the third time in three months a ship has collided with a Bay Area bridge. The US Coast Guard says that around 2:30 Wednesday morning,

Grounded Fishing Vessel’s Damage Assessed Transit Plan Developed
SitNews – Ketchikan,AK,USA
boom continued to surround the vessel as a precaution and there have been no reports of petroleum leakage after the vessel’s initial grounding.

FG explains oil vessel explosion in PH
The Tide – Port Harcourt,Niger Delta,Nigeria
Harcourt on Friday was caused by an accident. Our correspondent reports that a ship carrying 5000 tonnes of petrol exploded at the Port Harcourt Wharf.

Posted 01/18/08 at 10:26 AM
Commodore Goodwill sustained damage to its hull during high winds on December 10 and it is not known when it will be back in service. The ship usually delivers some food and goods to Guernsey. Condor Ferries has chartered the Triumph. The replacement ship will begin daily sailings to Guernsey from 1 February. Source: BBC

San Francisco Bay – initial report on Cosco Busan incident prepared

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the initial report on the COSCO BUSAN incident has been prepared and forwarded to Headquarters for review.  The report, prepared by the Incident Specific Preparedness Review (ISPR) team, focuses on the first two weeks of the response to the November 7, 2007 allision of the freighter with a pier of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the ensuing oil spill.  Public release of the report is expected in approximately two weeks. (1/16/08).

Savannah River – grounded vessel refloated

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the container ship that grounded in the Savannah River has been refloated with the assistance of two towing vessels.  The ship has been moved to an anchorage area until the problem causing the grounding has been identified and repaired.  The incident is under investigation. (1/16/08).

Duluth – salvage plan approved for partially sunken laker

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the salvage plan has been approved for the laker that partially sank after striking a submerged object while approaching its pier in Duluth.  Deballasting is expected to take several days.  Then repairs can be effected. (1/16/08).

Cyprus and Syria Sign Cooperation Agreement on Maritime Pollution

The agreement entails “. . . combating marine pollution, training and rehabilitation, research and the possibility of holding twining among the Syrian and Cypriot ports.”

Dock owner stands firm over pilot’s sacking
Liverpool Echo – UK
The member of trade union Unite was dismissed after an incident involving the grounding of a pilot vessel. No-one was hurt but he lost his job after

Maritime Safety News Today – 22 December

 capsize, collision, Offshore tug, oil, oil tanker, Pollution  Comments Off on Maritime Safety News Today – 22 December
Dec 222007

Fears grow for missing tug crew
Metro – London,UK
Ian Plater, sector manager for Clyde Maritime & Coastguard Agency, said: “We commenced our search at first light this morning. Most of the assets and units

‘Series of problems in Dolphin disaster’
The Herald – Glasgow,Scotland,UK
A series of problems and misunderstandings contributed to the Bourbon Dolphin disaster, which claimed eight lives when the oil-rig support tug capsized 75

Cosco Busan Captain’s Lawyer Asks For Hearing On Misconduct Charges
FoxReno.com – Reno,NV,USA
Meadows did object to the board’s accusation of misconduct “on the ground that it is so indefinite and uncertain that (the defendant, Cota) cannot identify 

Fast rescue boats
Amendments to part A of the STCW Code, also enter into force on 1 January 2008, add additional training requirements for the launching and recovery of fast rescue boats.
The amendments were adopted in response to reports of injuries to seafarers in numerous incidents involving the launching and recovery of fast rescue boats in adverse weather conditions.

SKorea to tighten rules against spill-prone oil tankers
“Following the accident, we plan to advance the timetable to phase out singled-hulled vessels,” Lee Ki-Sang, deputy director of the Ministry of Maritime 

Oct 262007

Six months after her capsize near the Chevron drilling rig, Transocean Rather, 85 miles west of the Shetlands on April 12 this year, a preliminary report on the AHTS Bourbon Dolphin incident and the loss of eight lives, including a 14 year old schoolboy has been released. It may raise more questions than it answers and those may have to wait until the official Norwegian report is issued next year.

Of those on the bridge when she capsized, only the second mate, Geir Syversen, survived. His testimony indicates that problems began at a very early stage and emergency systems triggered just before the capsize did not work.

Syversen and the first mate took over from the Captain and another officer at around mid-day. There was a 32 knot wind from the south-west with a significant wave heightof 2.9 metres. Some 912 metres of anchor chain had been let out, the deck crew felt it was safe to continue and attached a further 900 metres of chain, which they completed by 1300.

At 1500, as the chain was being let out, another anchor handling tug, the Highland Valour, was asked to assist by putting down a grapnel to 750 metres to lift the chain and ease the tension. The Highland Valour secured the chain but dropped it after two or three minutes and began to drift at high speed towards the Bourbon Dolphin. Collision was prevented by the first officer on the Dolphin who applied full ahead.

The movement alerted the captain of the Bourbon Dolphin, who returned to the bridge. By now some 1,500 metres of chain had been let out and the ension had reached 180 tonnes. It was agreed to let Highland Valour attempt to secure the chain again. The Highland Valour failed four times to catch the chain.

At 1545 the Bourbon Dolphin’s engineer called the bridge requesting that thruster capacity be reduced due to overheating. The First mate said it was not possible to do so because the vessel was too far out of position.

Highland Valour secured the chain on the fifth attempt. At around 1645 the Highland Valour was asked to move in a north-westerly direction towards the Bourbon Dolphin’s port quarter. Instead she moved to the south-east, pulling the Bourbon Dolphin to port. On VHF the captain asked Highland Valour whether she knew the difference between north, south east and west and the vessel changed direction.

Five minutes later the Bourbon Dolphin Chief Engineer warned that unless thruster capacity was reduced he would have to cut to avoid damage.

By now the Bourbon Dolphin was on a heading of 324 with a yaw between 324 and 330, had a slight tilt to port and had laid down 1,800 metres of chain.

Again, the Highland Valour dropped the chain. Tension on the chain reached 290 tonnes, almost a hundred tonnes more than her rated bollard pull. The First officer started pumping ballast to the starboard tanks to counter an increasing tilt to port.

At 1700 the Chevron rig realised the Bourbon Dolphin was in trouble and suggested lowering the inner starboard towing pin. The First Mate attempted to push down the lever to lower the pin but couldn’t – tension was now 330 tonnes.

The Captain turned the tug to starboard, easing the tension enough for the First Officer to push down the inner starboard towing pin. The chain moved over to the outer port towing pin, but not over the cargo rail, causing the Bourbon Dolphin to list more to port. With the vessel being pulled to port and large parts of the cargo deck now underwater, the Chief Engineer telephoned the bridge to say that both engines had stopped.

As the list to port became more extreme, the Captain ordered the second officer to push the emergency release button that would release the whole chain to the bottom but nothing happening, the chain was moving off the tug at 12 metres a second.

The Bourbon Dolphin’s fate was already sealed as, over the next few seconds, she turned turtle.

No specific cause is identified in the preliminary report but stability problems possibly due to the partial filling of the starboard ballast tank may have contributed.

There will, however, be plenty of questions.

One question will be whether it was good judgement to use the Bourbon Dolphin for the task in the first place. Bourbon offshore managing director Trond Myklebust told the inquiry that the vessel was considered ‘marginal’ and was well down the list of choices for the job.

Initially, two other vessels were intended to do the job and the Dolphin was to assist. At some stage during the operation she became, for reason still unclear, the main vessel.

Concern about the Dolphin’s suitability centered on the charterer’s specification for a vessel with a minimum bollard pull of 180 tonnes. Although the Dolphin had 194 tonnes bollard pull this was substantially reduced with the thrusters going.

A further issue was raised by a member of the Royal Commission hearing the evidence who pointed out that in the Norwegian sector operations would have been halted with six metres waves but there were no such limitations in the British sector.

Also under scrutiny will be the actions of the Highland Valour  and the anchor handling competency of those aboard the Bourbon Dolphin.