S. Gabriel Grounding: Inadequate Watch

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Nov 022010

MV Gabriel

An inadequate watch system led to the grounding of the German-registered MV S. Gabriel says Germany’s Bundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchung, Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, BSU. Subsequent flooding of the engine room was due to an open manhole cover, say investigators.

At 0500, with no lookout and a single officer on the bridge, the vessel grounded about 5 nm east of the port of Ponta Delgada and began to take on water. A 6/6, two-watch, system was in effect. Continue reading »

Covadonga Mooring Fatality

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Oct 012010

Damaged shoe hints at victim's injuries

Germany’s Bundesstel le für Seeunfalluntersuchung, Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, has released its report into the fatality of a worker at the Brunsbuttel Lock due to head injuries as a result of a parting mooring line. On the 28th October, 2008, interaction between the moored TMS Covadonga, awaiting entry into the lock, and TMS Lister, which was emerging from the lock caused movement of the former which led to the forespring snapping and hitting a worker on the dock.

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Skania/Gitta Collision – “Ferry Ran On Rails”

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Apr 172010

Top: FV Gitaa damage, bottow, the 'ferry on rails'

Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation says that it cannot give precise conclusions regarding the collision between the ro-ro ferry Skania and the fishing vessel Gitte in part because of the refusal by Skania’s owner, Unity Line Co. Ltd of Szczecin, to release the vessel’s Voyage Data Recorder and markedly different accounts of the circumstances. BSU does use the incident to highlight the value of AIS aboard smaller vessels.

In its summary investigation report BSU says: “At about 0141 on 17 February 20091, the Ro/Ro ferry Skania, sailing under the flag of the Bahamas, collided with the fishing vessel Gitte, registered in the Federal Republic of Germany, while en route from Swinoujscie, Poland, to Ystad, Sweden. At the time, the fishing vessel anchored approx. 13 nm east of Rügen because of engine failure. For unknown reasons, the watchkeepers on the bridge of the ferry failed to notice the fishing vessel, which anchored on the ferry’s course line, collided with the starboard forecastle and then dragged the fishing vessel with her anchor line until it broke shortly afterwards.

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Santa Alina/MOL Utility SBO Deaths “Senseless” – BSU

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Feb 062010

Fixing handrails in place while containers were being swung led to a fatality

Germany’s BundesBundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchung, Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, BSU, has described the deaths of two workers in two separate incidents “Senseless” and forcefully says employers should define the necessary qualification requirements for occupational safety and establish and enforce directives that ensure all persons are properly qualified to discharge their duties and responsibilities in the area of safety and health.

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Three Engine Failures, Two Collisions = Bad Day On The Elbe

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Nov 272009

image Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, BSU, has issued its report on the multiple engine failures of the 8,896 gt reefer Hope Bay while on passage from Hamburg, under the conduct of a pilot, and subsequent collisions between Hope Bay and the salvage tug Oceanic and between Oceanic and Joseph Mobius, a suction dredger. The cause of the engine failures remains in doubt but a key element in the incident was poor communication.

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Norfolk: Worries Led To Grounding

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Oct 202009

Norfolk Express

A troubled officer of the watch, alone on the bridge, was so distracted by a disturbing email that he ignored radio warnings that his containership was standing into danger as it grounded in the Gulf of Suez, says a report from Germany’s BSU. Although the psychological health of seafarers is an issue, German investigators make a particular note of the need to keep an adequate lookout, adequate bridge manning and the use of bridge alarms.

Shortly before dawn on 30 May, 2008, the containership Norfolk Express was travelling along the southern edge of the Gulf of Suez Traffic Separation Scheme with the Polish chief officer on watch since 0400. At 0407, although it was still dark, he send the lookout to check on the temperature of reefers containers and clean the companionways. At 0449, after two course corrections to overtake another vessel, he went to the radio station to check his emails.

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Safety Alert – Exploding Windlass – Your Experiences?

 anchor, anchoring., ATSB, Australia, Bermuda, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Safety Alert – Exploding Windlass – Your Experiences?
Aug 182009

Results of a high pressure that couldn't take it

Britain’s Maritime Accident Investigation Branch has appealed to the industry for information on the catastrophic failure of high pressure hydraulic anchor windlasses in its latest Safety Bulletin following several incidents since 2007, some of which have caused serious injury.

Says MAIB: : “Since 2007, the MAIB has been made aware of the catastrophic failure of a number of high pressure hydraulic anchor windlasses. Of those that have occurred, the following are particularly noteworthy:

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BSU – Jan Maria 'glaring violations

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Sep 022008

Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, Bundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchun, BSU, found what it describes as ‘glaring violations’ of safety rules during its investigation into the death of a seafarer aboard the 7,646 gross tonnes stern trawler Jan Maria in 2006. It also noted serious shortfalls in the document-keeping regime aboard ship.

While the trawl was being set for fishing 130 nautical miles off the west coast of Ireland, a line suddenly came under tension and trapped a seafarer against a vertical roller at the stern of the vessel. The seafarer suffered severe injuries to his chest and died on board the vessel shortly afterwards.

Among issues noted in the BSU investigation report is that the area of the incident could be seen directly from the bridge, where winches were controlled, due to obstruction by a crane pillar. Although adequate elsewhere in the vessel, video cameras covering the area were subject to frequent interference and the black and white video monitor was indistinct and fuzzy, making it difficult to see, especially at night.

Several emergency winch stop buttons were positioned around the deck but were difficult to find. Says the BSU report: “…the Master and the Mate were unaware of the existence of the emergency stop equipment for interruption of winch operation on the fishing deck.”

Concern was also raised about language used on the vessel and potentially confusing hand-signal communications used for critical operations on deck – ambient noise levels were too high to permit use of radios.

Full details can be found in the report and, although the vessel in this case was a trawler, it is possible for similar situations to occur on other vessel types.

Among the lessons to learn: If an area of potential hazard is not directly visible from the point of control of equipment in that area then appropriate steps need to be taken to enhance safety and ensure a timely response in event of an accident. If the area is covered by video cameras ensure than the camera lens is clean, that interference is minimised and the video system optimally adjusted to give a clear picture, especially at night.

Consideration should also be given to providing an additional safety watch when someone is working that area.

Ensure that all crew are familiar with the location and operation of emergency stop controls and that such controls are clearly and unambiguously marked and very visible and the location clearly indicated by signage.

If hand signals must be used ensure that they are standardised, uniformly applied and that all crew are familiar with them.