Maritime Safety & Security News – 29 August 2009

 allision, contact, fire, oil tanker, Sinking  Comments Off on Maritime Safety & Security News – 29 August 2009
Aug 282009

Tuna boats collide in broad daylight
The Daily Astorian
At 3 pm Wednesday the US Coast Guard responded to a collision between two fishing vessels 85 miles west of the Columbia River.

Accident In Bahamas Leaves NCL Passenger Dead
Read more in our Privacy Policy A passenger on board a Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line ship has died following an accident in the Bahamas.

Barge hits bridge in Hammersmith
Hounslow Chronicle
The wheelhouse of the craft was ripped off by the collision and the skipper suffered a gash to the head which needed 12 stitches.

Empty oil tanker sinks near Suez canal
The vessel had a capacity of 59000 tonnes but was only carrying its own fuel supply of around 60 tonnes, they added. Authorities from the canal,

25 saved after vessel catches fire in Murrells Inlet
Twelve additional people were saved by efforts from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. All aboard the ship were transported to Captain

A loaded freighter ship ran aground in the San Joaquin River on Thursday night just east of Solano County, according to the US Coast Guard.

Police blame alleged human error for Bali sea accident
Jakarta Post
involving a ship that capsized off Badung Strait in Bali, was allegedly caused by human error. The Wednesday sea accident left nine passengers dead and

Families of seafarers exposed to high risks of HIV
Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) — Being married to a Filipino seafarer for 12 years, Edna (not her real name) has grown accustomed to numerous difficulties

Shippers lament maritime industry’s low contribution to economy
The level of piracy in our territorial waters is almost rivalling Somalia’s. Somalia is a failed state, while Nigeria is the giant of Africa.

Seadrill looking into cause of Timor Sea oil spill
Oil & Gas Journal
21 oil spill involving the Montara platform off West Australia in the Timor Sea. Seadrill’s West Atlas jack up drilling rig is operating under contract to

US finds water pollution near drill sites 27 August 2009

US government scientists have for the first time found chemical contaminants in drinking water wells near natural gas drilling operations, fueling concern that a gas-extraction technique is endangering the health of people who live close to drilling rigs.

US plans land-based UAV patrols to combat piracy
Stars and Stripes
“I believe the main focus would be maritime security and counterpiracy operations,” said Navy Capt. John Moore, commodore of Combined Task Force 67 in

Singapore – preventing and suppressing acts of piracy

The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular forwarding various IMO guidance and advice on preventing and suppressing acts of piracy and sea robberies on ships. Shipping Circular No. 23 of 2009 (8/14/09).

Advance in offshore drilling hails from landlocked Alberta.
The ship will initially be servicing wells producing for onocophillips. "Platforms can sink 65 wells in a grid, then cost a million dollars to move,

Norwegian mayor sends letter by pipe 27 August 2009

A mayor of a town in western Norway has sent a message to another local politician in the UK via the Langeled natural gas pipeline.

Fluorescents May Put Bridge In Bad Light

 safety flash  Comments Off on Fluorescents May Put Bridge In Bad Light
Jun 142009

Compact Flourscent Light like therse cam ne hazardous

Compact Fluorescent Lights, like those pictured above, may please beancounters but should not be used on a bridge. They work using a radio frequency emitter to make the gas inside them glow and can affect certain radio communications.

The US Coast Guard alert can be read below.

Is BO The Answer To Fatigue?

 accident reporting, fatigue  Comments Off on Is BO The Answer To Fatigue?
Mar 122009

Shortly after Britain’s Maritime Investigation Branch raged against the narcoleptic response by the International Maritime Organisation and the European Union to the issue of fatigue the US National Transportation Safety Board took the opportunity of Sleep Awareness Week, MAC is awaiting Awareness Awareness Week, to reiterate its commitment to ridding the transport industry of the curse of fatigue. Perhaps a bit of BO will help, Bridge Odour.

First, let’s take a look at fatigue. It’s part of the territory. Unrealistic minimum manning standards, especially in coastal waters where regulations ofen require lower manning levels than on deep sea routes, are partly to blame: The more likely you are to hit a rock the fewer warm bodies you need on the bridge. Working hours, especially 6/6 schedules, contribute to fatigue particularly when only two officers handle watches. One man watching keeping contributes to fatigue.

If your are alone on watch during a 6/6 schedule at night you are at risk.

Most people need around eight hours sleep, even after 11 million years of evolution and thousands of years of artifical lighting. Lack of sleep builds up into a sleep debt that must, eventually be paid and your body will extract that debt from you with the ruthlessness of a Mafia loanshark.

Coffee and various forms of caffeine can help temporarily, but too much coffee can make men overreact and woman underreact, according to US Army research. Some serious students even go as far as to risk being caught buying Modafinil online just to keep awakee during the exams week. A good diet will help, as will eating lightly before going on watch. Taking in some fresh air, too, can help. All these however, merely delay the inevitable lowering of mental and physical alertness and prepardeness.

That said, let’s move on to BO, bridge odour. Unless the OOW is a bit shy of personal hygeniene it’s not something you take much notice of but it can affect your alertness even if you have one of those cardboard pinetrees dangling from the airconditioner.

We are, in fact, quite sensitive to smells even at a subconscious level. Research has shown that the scent of peppermint increases alertness and shortens reaction times in car drivers. Other research suggests that you don’t necessarily need to drink coffee to enhance alertness, the smell of it will do.

Which brings us to an intriguing, environmentally friendly gadget, the RITI computer printer, which actually operates by hand but that is not what makes it environmentally friendly. What should make it attractive to the bean-counters ashore is that uses coffee or tea dregs as ink. Put some drags into the ink reservoir and waggle it and you print out a page.

The printed output, of course, smells like coffee. So, your printed passage plan is not only cheap and a joy to the accountants, but might keep the OOW awake on watch.

Perhaps we should revisit the prohibition against putting coffee stains on the chart.

On the other hand one can imagine a scenario:

“Where’s the weather fax?”

“Second officer drank it, sir.”

Not Being John Cota

 allision  Comments Off on Not Being John Cota
Apr 112008

“Capt. Cota acknowledges the lack of situational awareness and does not expect it to happen again.”
Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Bays: Investigation into the grounding of the M/V Pioneer…on 20 February 2006.

Bay pilot John Cota’s week it wasn’t, starting April 8, 2008. Since the US Department of Justice has already charged him on two criminal counts, an act likely to hinder a helpful investigation, his lawyers advised him to claim the protection under the Fifth Amendment of the US constitution against self-incrimination and declined to give testimony at the public hearings of the US National Transportation Safety Board, a protection ironically, which the US government does not want extended to non-US seafarers.

The ship’s crew, currently detained as ‘material witnesses’ for Cota’s trial did not give testimony, either.

Much of the second day of the hearing was occupied by evidence on Cota’s medical condition and previous history of alcohol abuse – he was tested for alcohol immediately after the incident and found clear. After the incident, the US Coast Guard asked Cota to surrender his mariner’s license because “the listed potential side effects of those medications and how they may or may not have some impact upon his judgment, his ability to function, cognitive ability,” said Chief of the Regional Exam Center, George Buffleben.

A medical witness, Dr. Robert Bourgeois, told the hearing “I wouldn’t want anyone taking those medicines and having to make decisions in a safety-sensitive position”. When asked if he would let his children board a bus with a driver using such medication, he said “my kids would not be on that bus”.

John Cota, call sign Romeo, was evaluated for renewal of his license in January 2007 under a system that is currently undergoing changes. However, this does call into question the effectiveness of the medical examination process.

This does not necessarily mean that Cota was suffering impairment. If he was, the hearing was told, it would be difficult for the master or officers to tell whether or not he was so impaired as to present a hazard. Under US legislation ship’s officers are required to obey the orders of the pilot unless he is clearly incompetent or incapacitated.

There has been much comment about alleged problems with the radar, AIS and ECIDS, with Cota saying that the latter was confusing. It is clear for the VDR transcript that he was struggling with both. The pilot who had conducted the Cosco Busan inbound, Captain Nyborg, had no problems with radar or AIS, and these were found to be working after the incident.

He also had little problem communicating with the Captain, Mao Cai Sun, nor with the helmsman.

Captain Nyborg did notice a problem with the ECDIS, with the track being offset to the west. Nyborg disembarked the Cosco Busan and later went to the pilot conference centre for a monthly meeting. From there he saw the ship coming away from anchorage 7 and moving towards anchorage 9, “I was surprised because I recognized her as a ship I put in Oakland, and it would be very unusual for that ship to be coming to the wrong direction unless something had happened or something was wrong, like if they had a breakdown or something” said Nyborg. Other pilots present told Nyborg about the allision.

“I tried to remember where, you know, what issues I might have had with it, and what my, you know, if I had any difficulties or, you know, bad helmsman or anything like that. Nothing stuck out in my mind except that I, I remembered that, gee, I think that ECDIS display was showing a poor course as far as — a poor planned route through Delta Echo span, and I wondered if they had tracked the same deal coming outbound,” he told investigators.

Cota arrived at the meeting looking shaken: “(He) actually sat down within 3 or 4 feet of me, and I scooted my chair over and out of concern asked him, John, how you doing? He described how he was doing. Oh, my God, John, what happened? And, and he was visibly shaken. And I said you know what you should look into that – you should look into this ECDIS display because I believe it was, it was running West of where it should have been on my inbound. And of course I didn’t need it, but if you relied on it at all maybe it ought to be something that is investigated.”

Surprisingly, or prehaps not considering the possible emotional impact of the event, Cota forgot about the meeting: “John called me last night, and he had actually — didn’t recall me telling him that. He’s like there’s rumor around that you saw this or saw that, and I’m like, John, I talked to you at the meeting. Didn’t you remember that meeting? He said, no. I was really rattled, and I probably talked to people I didn’t, I don’t remember talking to. And that’s very understandable, you know,” said Nyborg.

To be continued

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