German Investigators Withdraw From Two Investigations – Italy Not Objective

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Jan 202016

Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, BSU, has withdrawn from two serious accident investigations involving Italian authorities on the grounds that the legal position in Italy does not permit an objective technical accident investigation because of its absolute prioritization of criminal proceedings. Italian authorities have made it impossible for a thorough investigation to be carried out. It calls into questions the ability of Italian authorities to conduct an IMO-compliant investigation and its competence in carrying out safety investigations.

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Oct 162014

cmvavenueMurphy’s Law is more consistent than the Law of Gravity: If something can go wrong it will, and at the most critical moment. An unresolved engine problem, a contined waterway and an overtaking maneouvre bought together the 12,878 dwt Antigua and Barbuda-flagged CMV Conmar Avenue with the 88,669 dwt Netherlands-flagged Maersk Kalmar on the Outer Weser between fairway buoys 29 and 31 in the Fedderwarder Fairway, Germany.

The joint accident report from Germany’s BSU and Antigua and Barbuda’s Inspection nd Investigation Division, emerges a few weeks after video of what appears to be a somewhat similar siuation in the Suez Canal circulated on the internet. That partiular incident remains under investigation. Continue reading »

Jun 162014

Assumptions led to collision

Merely responding “Okay” isn’t the best way of ensuring that the other vessel actually understands your intentions. And, as Germany’s Bundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchung, BSU report into the collision between xontainerships CMV CCNI Rimac and CMV CSAV Petorca near the port of Yangshan, China, shows:  Assume nothing.

Under conditions of reduced visibility at 1148, on 21 June 2011, VTS Yangshan, told the Petorca that she was outside the fairway and that a vessel in the fairway was approaching her. Petorca  acknowledged the information and told the traffic centre that she intended to return to the northern part of the fairway immediately after the outbound ship  passed. She did not mention the ship by name but was referring to the Rimac. VTS Yangshan repeated the information from the Petorca and acknowledged her intentions.

Rimac called VTS Yangshan about 15 seconds later and asked about the oncoming vessel now some 1.5 nm away. The Petorca heard this query and requested the Rimac to maintain her course at 1150. Petorca intended to alter her course a  little further to port. Continue reading »

Marti Princess/Renate Schultze – Poor Situational Awareness

 Accident report, collision, collision regulations, colregs, maritime safety news  Comments Off on Marti Princess/Renate Schultze – Poor Situational Awareness
Dec 242012
Marti Princess/Renate Schultz collision "poor situational awareness"

Marti Princess/Renate Schultz collision “poor situational awareness”

Poor situational awareness and missing or deactivated barriers led to the collision between the Malta-registered general cargo ship Marti Princess and the German-registered containership Renate Schultze off Bozcaada Island on
27 June 2009 says a joint report by Transport Malta and Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation.

The 6,019 GT Marti Princess, and the 14,619 GT Renate Schulte collided on 27 June 2009 whilst navigating in the Aegean Sea close to Bozcaada island. Marti Princess was southbound. Renate Schulte was northbound. The weather was predominantly dark with no moonlight although visibility was reported to be between five to seven miles.
Marti Princess was proceeding at about 10.5 knots and Renate Schulte was doing about 16.5 knots.
On Marti Princess, the OOW and the master had just made an alteration in course to pass behind the stern of another ship – Ilgaz, and was coming back to the original heading. Both crew members did not see Renate Schulte ahead until a few minutes
before the collision. Continue reading »

BSU Concern Over Switching Passengers To Crew

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Sep 052011

Germany’s maritime investigators have expressed concern regarding the ease which which passengers can be reclassified as “special crew” on Danish vessels in its report on a minor accident involving the sailing vessel J.R. Tolkien and CMV Navi Baltic.

The accident itself was minor. However, JR Tolkien  could have crossed the bow of the CMV Navi Baltic with 90 passengers on board.
Says the report: “From the perspective of the BSU, the investigated vessels displayed significant deficiencies in terms of equipment and safety, which are not in line with international regulations. With regard to the operation of these vessels, there is no adequate
safety instruction in those deck areas that are potentially hazardous, for example, closing-off certain areas when making fast, closing-off the unsecured superstructures, decks for passengers”.

At major maritime events, a departure parade such as that shown above for example, the crew has enough to do with handling the sails, navigating and observing the rules for avoiding collisions. If these vessels are then sailed with only two experienced crew members with, for example, 90 passengers, problems and critical situations are inevitable. Whether used as a passenger ship or as a special purpose ship, the right ratio must prevail between the number of qualified crew members and the number of passengers or the special purpose of the ship.

A reduction of experienced crew members and replacement by passengers, without the definition of criteria for qualification and experience, reduces safety standards significantly.

Inexperienced passengers on board must be able to rely on the fact that all safety regulations are met, that the crew is qualified as well as experienced, and that the vessel is licensed for the type of transportation.

Based on their use, the BSU takes the view that the three vessels investigated are passenger ships and do not count as special purpose ships according to the SPS Code when on international voyages. These vessels are used on domestic and international voyages for the transportation of paying passengers.

That the same co- sailors on the same vessel are supposedly passengers on domestic voyages and special personnel on international voyages, and added to that, that the change in status of vessel and passengers/special personnel is effected simply by an entry in the log book, is somewhat unconvincing.

In the interest of passenger safety, the relevant provisions of the EU Directive on passenger ships must be complied with on domestic voyages, and the SOLAS regulations for passenger ships on international voyages, without the flag State falling back on possibilities for exemption.

The three marine casualties investigated are not a random accumulation of individual cases. A total of 22 marine casualties involving Dutch sailing passenger ships have been reported to the BSU since 2003. These cases are made up of collisions, groundings, injured people on board and persons falling overboard.

The issue of Dutch sailing vessels on domestic voyages in Germany under the EU Directive on passenger ships and on international voyages as special purpose vessels as well as the associated issue of compliance with international safety rules are long-standing and debated in an extremely controversial, partly polemic manner.

On no account does the BSU wish to enter into this debate; however, for reasons of safety it is imperative that orderly and safe conditions are established for the operator, the supervisory and control authorities, but also for the passengers, in particular, and that a basic rule is soon found.

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MAIB To Assist BSU in fatal collision probe

 Accident, collision, fatality  Comments Off on MAIB To Assist BSU in fatal collision probe
Apr 252011

Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch is to assist Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Accident Investigation in the investigation of the collision between the UK-registered OOCL Finland and the Russian registered Tyumen-2 at about 0500UTC on 14 April,2011 in restricted visibility. A pilot and a channel controller aboard Tymen-2 were killed and two others seriously injured in the incident.

Russian authorities have already blamed the incident on the OOCL Finland although no investigation had been carried out. Continue reading »

EMS Trader: Hazardous Pilot Rig Led To Fatal MOB

 Accident, Accident report, lifejacket, Man Overboard  Comments Off on EMS Trader: Hazardous Pilot Rig Led To Fatal MOB
Jan 252011

Did the pilot ladder platform drag a seafarer to death?

Working in the dark with poor lighting and a partially slippery deck near an opening in the railing harbours particular risks, especially when you’re on your own rigging what Germany’s Federal Bueau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, the BSU, refers to as “an indeed permissible but potentially hazardous pilot ladder construction” aboard the containership EMS Trader in its just-published report.

Nobody saw the victim fall, or knows the moment it happened, so the exact sequence of events that led to yet another grieving family cannot be determined with precision. It seems likely that the pilot ladder platform had not been properly hooked into place, that the victim had wrapped the cord used to lowr the platform around his hand and that the platform fell dragging him overboard.

What is quite apparent is that safety culture was inadequate.

Says the BSU summary: “At approximately 06151 on 4 November 2009, the EMS Trader, a container vessel flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, cast off from the Port of Hamburg and sailed downstream on the Elbe under pilotage. Continue reading »

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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Ortegal Uno Capsize: insufficient culture of safety

 Accident, accident reporting, capsize, fishing boat, Sinking  Comments Off on Ortegal Uno Capsize: insufficient culture of safety
Nov 152010

ortegal Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation says that the capsize and sinking of the fishing vessel Ortegal Uno was caused by a ‘sequence of factors which… reveal an
insufficient culture of safety in terms of the modification, monitoring and operation of
the vessel.

Ortegal Uno capsized and sank in heavy weather after several large waves flooded the fish processing area, which was not fitted with appropriate drainage. There inadequate watertight integrity, which led to flooding of other areas of the vessel and a list that went from 40 degrees to 60 degrees.

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