Maritime Safety News – 17th-20th June 2008

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Jun 202008

2 workers killed, 5 hurt in shipyard mishap
Straits Times – Singapore
Fourteen others were hurt in the explosion on the Rainbow Star. No explosion took place on Wednesday on board the ship that was being converted into a

Posted 06/18/08 at 08:42 AM

A 52-year-old Surrey man died after being crushed between two barges at a log sorting operation near Crofton, reported. The accident occurred just before midnight while the men were working on barges towed by tugboats in the Shoal Island area, near the Catalyst mill in Crofton

Labrador freighter runs aground
Western Star – Corner Brook,Newfoundland and Labrador,Canada
The Canadian Coast Guard received a distress call at around 1:30 am The ship’s 13 crew members abandoned the vessel in a life boat.

New Jersey – passengers ferried ashore after cruise vessel becomes disabled

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the passengers and crew of a 62-foot long harbor cruise vessel were transported ashore after the vessel’s propellers became entangled.

Edinburgh ship blaze could take week to bring under control, warn
Glasgow Daily Record – Glasgow,Scotland,UK
A BLAZE severely damaging a ship could take until the end of the week to extinguish, fire chiefs said yesterday. Ten firefighters are tackling the blaze on

UK. Torbay RNLI Lifeboat aids sinking fishing vessel; tows to Brixham
BYM News (press release) – Gibraltar,Spain
A nearby fishing vessel, the Marina, responded to the Pan Pan and proceeded to the sinking vessel. The Marina was requested to stand by the vessel until the .

Regulator failed to check vessel’s safety: coroner
Queensland’s maritime safety regulator failed to inspect an unseaworthy Torres Strait-based vessel in the years before a deckhand fell to his death, the state’s coroner has found.

Queensland coroner Michael Barnes found Maritime Safety Queensland had not inspected the vessel, The Alert, operated by company Torres Pilots for years prior to the 2004 death of 55-year-old Phillemon Mosby, despite receiving complaints that it was unsafe.

German-Based Operator of Ship and Chief Engineer Plead Guilty to
Biloxi Sun Herald – MS, USA
“The company and chief engineer used the ocean as a dumping ground for waste oil and tried to cover that up,” said David M. Dillon, Special Agent-in-Charge,

Boats, words collide in dispute between marina and shipper
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Milwaukee,WI,USA
By TOM DAYKIN A long-simmering dispute between two Milwaukee businesses has boiled over after a cargo ship operated by St. Marys Cement Inc. collided Monday

9 Non-British Ships Under Detention in the Uk During May

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced today that 9 foreign flagged ships were under detention in UK ports during May 2008 after failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection. read more.

Liquefied Natural Gas Tankers Remain Giant Terror Targets
The Cutting Edge – Washington,DC,USA
Foreign seafarers are not. US mariners will be subject to terrorism background checks through the TSA. Foreign Seafarers are not.

Somalia, French firm sign pact to tackle piracy.
By David Barouski(David Barouski)
Mombasa-based Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP) says the move is laudable as it could enhance security of vessels and crew noting that many seagoing vessels and maritime insurers have been avoiding Somali coast because of piracy

Oil dealers raise alarm over danger of big spill at port
Business Daily Africa – Nairobi,Kenya
Marketers raise fears that KPA and the Kenya Maritime Authority may not have capacity to manage a spill of more than 1000 metric tonnes.

Singapore – IMO unique owner and registered owner ID number scheme

The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular reminding owners and operators that, effective 1 January 2009, the IMO unique company and registered owner identification (ID) number must be reflected in a number of ship’s documents.  This includes the Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR), the Document of Compliance, the Safety Management Certificate (SMC), and the International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC), among others. Shipping Circular No. 11 of 2008 (6/16/08).

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Reederei Karl Schlueter,RKS,MSC Uruguay,mercenaries,ferry,Pacific Ataawhai,

Finger Chopper Match Results: Second Engineer 2, Fan 3

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May 212008

It was a routine task which left the second engineer three finger short after an encounter with a fan.

The MSF safety flash goes thusly:
A Second Engineer was taking a water sample from the air cooler radiator of an air compressor. He was closing the drain sample point using a spanner held in his left hand and had his right hand on the cooling fan guard at a point where there was a gap in the guard. At that moment the compressor started on auto start. Unfortunately he lost the 3 middle fingers of his right hand.

Lessons learned:
• The guard was not complete around the cooling fan as a small segment had been left for maintenance purposes. This does not appear to have been recognised as a hazard before this accident. Ships management and external inspectors should ensure a critical look is taken at work places during area inspections to identify such hazards.

• The sample drain under the radiator pointed towards the compressor when it could easily have been turned 180 degrees so it could be accessed from a safer position in front of the radiator.

• The isolation of this compressor was not consistently done when water samples were taken on a routine basis. There was no risk assessment or job card to highlight isolation during water sampling.

• It might also be considered that isolating machinery in such a case should be standard engineering practice.
• Chief Engineers should satisfy themselves that the correct level of supervision is in place for all tasks in machinery spaces.

• Routine tasks should receive proper care and attention. Where formal risk assessments are not considered necessary it may be prudent to develop work routines or job cards which state the controls which are required. The Step Change in Safety “Task Risk Assessment Guide” contains useful advice on this.

Napoli – Time To Box Clever

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Apr 232008

Some container industry executives might have been asking “Where’s the love?” when the UK’s Maritime Accident Investigation Branch report on the structural failure of the MSC Napoli landed on their desks this week, most, however would have had an inkling that a rap on the knuckles was in sight.

MSC Napoli was beached in Branscombe Bay, Dorset, by its master after a crack appeared in its hull by way of the engine room during a storm. Analysis showed a weakness in that part of the hull that went undetected because measurements of resistance to buckling were only taken in an area amidships of four tenths of her length overall, which did not include the engine room and which was the only area required to be checked by the classification society rules.

It was not a problem of fatigue or corrosion, but inherent in the design. Typically, a ship structure will maintain much the same configuration along its length, as frames diminish in size towards the bow and stern they effectively match the reduced global bending loads along the length of the ship away from the midships area. In the MSC Napoli, however, the structure was changed from longitudinal to transverse a little fore of the engine room, where stresses were almost as great as at amidships, but the structure itself was weak under the sort of compressive loading the vessel experienced.

A later survey of 1,500 similar vessels, with input from classification societies, discovered another 12 ships with similar problems that needed immediate attention and another 10 which required further investigation. Data on another eight ships had yet to be provided by the classification society concerned.

MAIB comments: “the commercial advantages of containerisation and intermodalism such as speed and quick turnarounds appear to have become the focus of the industry at the expense of the safe operation of its vessels. The industry is very schedule driven, and operators inevitably have an eye on the timetable when making key decisions.”

The MSC Napoli report identifies:”…the decisions to: sail without an operational governor; sail in excess of the maximum permissible seagoing bending moments in order to allow greater flexibility for
the time of departure; to operate at near maximum bending moments when underway; and to keep the ship’s speed as fast as possible when pounding into heavy seas, were symptomatic of the industry’s ethos to carry as much as possible as quickly as possible. However, although these decisions were undoubtedly made in the belief that the ship was operating within acceptable limits, this investigation has shown that unknown variables such as whipping effect and container weights are able to erode or
eliminate the safety margins in place.”

Containerships, with long, relatively narrow designs, are particularly subject to the effects of bending moments in rough seas and the ‘whipping effect’, which can typically increase wave bending
moments on container ships from between 10 per cent and 50 per cent. Any increase in the wave
bending moment above the normal design level would inevitably erode the margin between loading and hull strength. However, MAIB points out : “it is apparent that whipping effect is currently very difficult to reliably calculate or model. Classification societies are therefore unable to predict its magnitude or effect on a ship’s structure, with any confidence, and as a consequence they are not generally calculated during the structural design process.”

Basically, safety margins may be far smaller than accounted for. Indeed, the increase in the size of containerships has outpaced the regulatory environment. Says MAIB: “At the time of build, no buckling checks were required by the applicable rules, and none were made. However, as the current
requirements specified in UR S11 leaves buckling checks outside the 0.4L amidships region to the discretion of individual classification societies, there is a possibility that even if MSC Napoli had been built after 1992, the lack of buckling strength in way of her engine room would still not have been identified. Importantly, it is highly probable that there are a number of other container ships of a similar design to MSC Napoli which are also vulnerable to localised buckling in severe conditions. It is essential that such designs are quickly identified and remedial action is taken where necessary”

Buckling strength, says MAIB must be measured globally, along the length of the ship, not just the .4 of a ships length amidships. This was less important for yesterday’s shorter vessels: It’s easy to break a full-length matchstick, but harder to snap shorter lengths, for instance. A single common method for establishing buckling strength is vital for today’s containerships.

How soon is that likely to happen? Lloyd’s List quotes IACS principal technical officer Colin Wright “We always respond to MAIB recommendations and they have sent out a message that says please get on with it. It is already in hand, though when it will be finished is another matter,” he said. Not, prehaps, the most exciting of responses.

“No ship is unbreakable. Classification societies apply structural strength limitations which are contingent on the application of good seamanship and prudent operational practice. It has been apparent during the course of this investigation that these caveats are not widely recognised by many in the container ship industry. Unlike other large vessels such as bulk carriers, which can frequently disregard the effect of the sea, due to their lines and limited engine power, container ships cannot. It is essential that companies recognise this difference and put in place controls and procedures to ensure that container ships operate within safe limits at all times,” says the MAIB report.

There were, however, other safety issues raised in the report that were related to container operations. Calculations showed a great discrepancy between declared container weights and their actual weights, which might not have directly led to the hull failure but would have contributed to the reduction of the safety margin between the total bending moment experienced and the strength of the hull. Without accurately weighing containers, the stresses on the hull cannot be accurately predicted.

Perhaps surprisingly, there is no dedicated trade organisation for the containershipping industry to provide guidance on best practices. In its report on the collapse of containers on the Annabella, MAIB commented “Working practices relating to the planning, loading, transportation and discharge of containers are largely unregulated and have been understandably focussed on the need to maximise efficiency and speed of operation. While key industry players will attest that safety is of paramount
concern, evidence obtained during this and other MAIB investigations into container shipping accidents suggests that in reality, the safety of ships, crews and the environment is being compromised by the overriding desire to maintain established schedules or optimise port turn round times.”

In response, the International Chamber of Shipping has convened a group of container ship industry experts and, with the assistance of the World Shipping Council, has started work to develop and publish a code of best practice for the industry. The code is expected to be completed by the end of 2008, after which it will be presented to IMO for adoption.

The Maritime And Coastguard Agency has added inspections of container weight and ship longitudinal strength checks on containerships to its paper to the Paris MOU Port State Control Subcommittee on the subject of operational checks and the human factor in loading of ships and whether adequate checks were being carried out prior to sailing. The UK will lead a task force to consider these checks for a concentrated inspection campaign planned for 2010, taking into account the findings of the MSC Napoli report.

The message from MAIB to the industry is clear: Get your act together, or, at least, learn to box clever.