Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, has urged the UK Major Ports Group, UKMPG, and British Ports Association, BPA, to review the risks of vessels running main engines while embarking or disembarking passengers and vehicles; and, inspect the passenger access structures in their ports, following the best practices and guidelines available on the subject from the civil engineering industry. The warning follows MAIB’s into unintended movement of the ro-ro passenger vessel Ben-My-Chree during loading operations at Heysham on 26 March 2010.
The accident was caused when the chief officer, intending to carry out pre-departure
control tests, set the pitch lever of both main propulsion engine CPPs to the 100%
ahead position. Expecting both shafts to be stationary, he had not noticed that the
starboard engine and shaft were running at sea speed with its CPP set on zero pitch.
The engineer who passed control of the engines to the bridge was not fully aware of which machinery was running, and had not informed the chief officer that the starboard shaft was turning. Running the main engines in port during passenger and vehicle operations was a normal activity on board this vessel, carried out once every three days to facilitate water-washing of the turbochargers on the main engines.