Maritime Safety & Security News – 2 August 2010

 maritime safety  Comments Off on Maritime Safety & Security News – 2 August 2010
Aug 012010
If you see “You do not have permission…” You may need to log in to Maritime Accident Casebook
Get hand­picked daily news head­lines in your mail­box through our free feed. Sub­scribe here:Sub­scribe to Mar­itime Acci­dent Case­book by Email feed Got news or a tip off? Send it to
imageNews Headlines

Gangplank collapses as 100 wait to board cruise
San Jose Mercury News
AP SAN DIEGO—A gangplank in San Diego collapsed as about 100 people waited to board a Mississippi-style cruise ship, dropping many into the shallow water.

Crew leaps to safety as boat burns in Indian River | VIDEO Florida Today "From my understanding, the owner (who was not aboard) just bought the shrimp boat in North Carolina," said Lori Matson, spokeswoman for the Rockledge Fire

Majority of Lifejackets Fail Lifeboat Test Afloat Over 90% of lifejackets tested at Ireland’s two biggest sailing centres failed simple checks carried out by the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI)

A 60-YEAR-OLD fisherman was minutes from death when he became
South Wales Evening Post
He said: "We could have been looking at a fatality. Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew members were on their way to a charity fundraiser

US divers examine damaged tanker
The specialist divers were dispatched to Fujairah to investigate the cause of the damage to the vessel, which is anchored about 13 nautical miles off the

Gulf of Mexico Has Long Been a Dump Site New York Times Much more than that has been spilled from pipelines, vessel traffic and wells in state waters — including hundreds of spills in Louisiana alone

Spanish Supreme Court clarifies rules on “both-to-blame” collisions Lexology (registration) By Beverley Wood The Spanish Supreme Court (the “Court”) has clarified the concepts of “ship” and “collision” in terms of collision liability. .

RNLI action stations
Cowes Online
Last year, 141 people were rescued at sea thanks to the volunteers of the Isle of Wight’s three RNLI lifeboat stations; Bembridge, Cowes, and Yarmouth.

Oil Firms to Set Up Fund for Spills
The rig has quarters capacity of 150 persons. It was also learnt that a similar accident occurred in Ghana in one of the Transocean’s rigs, Rig 702.


bill introduced to provide whistleblower protection Representative Miller (D-CA) introduced the Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act of 2010 (H.R. 5851) to provide whistleblower protections to certain workers in the offshore oil and gas industry. (7/26/10).

Continue reading »

A Series For Every Investigator – Eyewitness

 maritime accidents, Maritime Investigation, maritime safety  Comments Off on A Series For Every Investigator – Eyewitness
Apr 172010

image Every marine accident investigator deals with issues of memory and all have to be familiar with interview techniques, so the BBC’s new series Eyewitness is a must-see, or must listen. Two areas of particular interest are false memories and cognitive interviewing techniques, both useful knowledge for investigators.

Made by the BBC in collaboration with Greater Manchester Police and the Open University, the programmes explore the fallibility of human memory in witness testimony, by creating eyewitnesses and looking at real life cases crucial to the eyewitness story, as well as looking behind the scenes of the series and finding out more about the experts and their work.

Although the series is focussed on police work much of it is very relevant to maritime accident investigation, as the Skania/Gitta, Cosco Busan and other incidents demonstrate.

Here’s Becky Milne on Cognitive interview Techniques:


Continue reading »

MAC Update

 maritime accidents  Comments Off on MAC Update
Apr 212009

We are introducing a bit of new technology and software that will enable us to operate more consistently and provide new opportunities for development of MAC and enable us to be more mobile. This is putting a temeporary crimp in our activities but we should be running at full speed within the week.

Please bear with us.

New Podcast – The Case Of The Church Bell

 collision, collision regulations, fire, maritime accidents  Comments Off on New Podcast – The Case Of The Church Bell
Oct 272008

Why is this ship's bell in London's oldest church?

Mariner’s Chapel in London’s oldest church displays the bell of the BP tanker British Trent, a memorial to the nine seafarers who died in a collision and fire off Belgium in 1993. Maritime Accident Casebook”s latest podcast explores why the lessons of the British Trent tragedy remain relevant fifteen years later and tests attitudes towards the criminalisation of seafarers.

Korean bulker carrier Western Winner powered into the port side of British Trent, which had a full cargo of 24,000 tones of gasoline, in thick fog on the morning of 3rd June, 1993. Western Winner holed British Trent’s hull, spilling gasoline which caught fire. Firefighting on British Trent was hampered by a fire main damaged by the impact. Nine seafarers died of smoke inhalation and heat, no casualties were suffered by Western Winner.

Western Winner’s owners attempted to hamper the subsequent investigation. Belgian officials at first laid criminal charges against Western Winner’s master, but later withdrew them.

Says Bob Couttie, writer and narrator of the episode: “One comes away with a sense that even after all this time, there hasn’t been closure for those who lost friends and loved ones on British Trent, nor, perhaps for the survivors. If not for the courage and discipline aboard, the toll could have been far higher. That alone is an important lesson: Training, drills and discipline save lives.”

An investigation by Britain’s Maritime Accident Investigation Branch on behalf of Bermuda identified the cause of the incident as failure to comply with the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea. Western Winner proceeded at an unsafe speed in restricted visibility, did not keep an adequate watch, and there appears to have been no passage plan. There was also a failure to keep an adequate continuous radar watch on the bridge of British Trent.

“This case is a classic example of why colregs are so important to understand and implement,” says Couttie, “It’s also a warning not to make assumptions about what another vessel is going to do.”

Also touched on is the issue of the criminalisation of seafarers. An inquest in the UK found that the death of the victims was an “unlawful killing” by those in command of the Western Winner.

Says Couttie: ”There has to be considerable doubt about the competency of the master of the Western Winner. Some comments about the case suggest that the master should have been tried on criminal charges and punished. The fact is that a certificate of competency doesn’t mean that someone can do the job. I would ask whether those who put him in command without ensuring that he was capable of safe navigation should bear responsibility, too.”

Like all MAC podcasts, The Case Of The Church Bell reveals the circumstance around a real event through an audio podcast and online materials available for free at the Maritime Accident Casebook website,

As with the preceding episodes, the podcast is backed by an illustrated online transcript that seafarers can read, discuss and share with their crewmates and other seafarers. Those with training and safety responsibilities can use the broadcasts and the transcripts freely.

Maritime Accident Casebook, MAC, is a unique, free, informal educational resource, supported by donations, for seafarers and maritime trainers which seeks to empower seafarers through knowledge to keep themselves alive and their ships safe. MAC encourages seafarers to discuss lessons learned from real-life events and apply them to their own vessels and working practices to create a safety-conscious community.

The Case Of The Church Bell

For further information about Maritime Accident Casebook see the website at email

MAIB Report – Banging Knuckles

 accident reporting, confined space, enclosed space, MAIB, SafeSpace  Comments Off on MAIB Report – Banging Knuckles
Aug 032008

Stephen Meyer’s report in the Maritime Accident Investigation Board’s annual report covering 2007, now available, brings a disturbing viewpoint alongside a few sprinkles of good.

For the second year running the number of accidents involving merchant vessels has dropped for the second year. Although Admiral Meyer warns: “this is a very pleasing outcome, although it is not yet statistically justifiable to consider this a significant trend.” Unfortunmately, the second shoe to drop is that 2007 reported the highest number of seafarer deaths since MAIB itself was established and more than twice the number in any of the past 15 years..Even allowing for six deaths in just two accidents.

Meyer hits out forcefully on the issue of enclosed/confined space incidents: “The tragic death of three crew in a chain locker on board Viking Islay (See The Case Of The Rusty Assassin – BDC) came at a time of increasing concern about the rising rate of similar accidents worldwide. The hazards of enclosed spaces should be fully recognised by all seafarers, and systems should be in place to ensure safe entry into such compartments. However, the tragedy on board Viking Islay, and two subsequent fatal accidents reported to the MAIB in 2008, clearly indicates that this is not so. Unfortunately, despite the evidence to the contrary, some authorities seem to believe that they have no need to act on this problem; the MAIB considers such complacency to be unacceptable.”

Also in the firing line is the effectiveness of the Port Maritime Safety Code following the loss of three lives when the tug Flying Phantom capsized nine months after a MAIB report on a near-catastrophic accident in the Port of Liverpool and the 2000 incident on the Clyde which was almost identical. Says Meyer: “The MAIB will need to take a view on whether the current ports’ system is effective in ensuring that safety lessons are learned from previous accidents.”

MAIB’s core output is its post-report reommendendations intended to makes a ships, seafarers and the seas a safer place. The fate of those reports can be quite revealing and sometimes worrying, as, prehaps, they are intended to be.

Take the British Wind Energy Association, BWEA, whose members are involved in producing wind energy through windmills located in big, windy places like the sea. To erect these impressive structures, jackup barges are towed by tug to place the pillars in position on the seabed, so BWEA members charters the necessary vessels through brokers.

After the grounding of the Octopus jack-up barge and the tug Harald in September 2006, MAIB suggested that BWEA should alert its members to the need to be aware of chart data sources and Category Zones of Confidence, CATZOC, when planning passages. BWEA rejected the recommendation outright because its members only hired vessels, didn’t own them, and that its members weren’t shipmasters or navigating officers.

It didn’t occur to BWEA that it might be awfully helpful for its members to bring their shipbrokers and charterer’s attention to the issue to avoid such incidents in the future. MAIB describes the response as ‘unhelpful’.

“Not our problem – not our concern” is an interesting approach to safety culture and MAC wonders when BWEA might be grown-up enough to realise that safety is everybody’s concern.

So, a well deserved smack on the knuckles for BWEA.

Two recommendations received no response, including one related to the triple-collision on the Elbe in which contact between a container ship, Arctic Ocean and a dry cargo vessel, Maritime Lady resulted in the capsize and sinking of the latter, which was subsequently hit by a chemical products tanker, Sunny Blossom.

MAIB’s recommendations to Maritime Lady’s owner, Maritime Management were to: “Provide guidance to masters, on the need to adopt manning levels appropriate to their area of navigation, taking into account the increased risks of grounding and collision inherent to navigating in pilotage waters.

“If appropriate, consider offering masters a period of suitable training in the effective use and management of bridge personnel, teams and resources.”

Nothing was heard from Maritime Management.

In the second case, a sailing yacht, Hooligan V, suffered a keel failure which lead to the death of one of the crew. MAIB told the yacht manufacturer: “Ensure that components manufactured for fitting to boats built under RCD criteria fully meet the RCD requirements, are supported by calculations and have the appropriate Safety Factor applied…Refer to component designers when considering changes to a design to ensure that safety is not compromised, especially by the addition of welds in stress critical areas…. Where appropriate, specify weld fatigue procedures to relieve stresses in critical weld areas.”

Follow-ups failed to get a response and Meyer comments: “It is to be hoped that their lack of response indicates that neither Maritime Management AS nor Konstuktiebedrijf De Jong BV remain in the maritime business.”

By the way, if you know anything about these two companies, do let MAC know through our confidential reporting page.

No Safety Shoes – How The Toes Goes

 accident reporting  Comments Off on No Safety Shoes – How The Toes Goes
Jul 172008

A trainee fisherman lost the majority of his toes on the left foot in an accident on a trawler while fishing for Norwegian lobsters.

After having emptied one of the trawls into two fish tanks on the aft deck, the trainee fisherman waited by one of the corners of the hatch while the skipper closed it by use of hydraulics.

The left foot of the trainee was in the way of the hatch which either the trainee or the skipper noticed until the foot was squeezed severely by the closing hatch.

The trainee was wearing regular rubber boots.

Says it all.

Read the report here.

Maritime Safety News Today – 12th June 2008

 maritime safety news  Comments Off on Maritime Safety News Today – 12th June 2008
Jun 122008

Major search and rescue operation launched on cruise ship
Southern Daily Echo – Southampton,England,UK
Two crew members of the cruise ship Saga Rose are reportedly “missing” in the ballast area of the ship’s hull. Teams from St Mary’s fire station as well as

Pirates attack Aussie-bound cattle ship – Australia
By Warwick Stanley A CATTLE transport ship bound for Western Australia came under two hours of heavy fire from pirates just hours after sailing from

Again, Gunmen Attack Addax Vessel
This Day (subscription) – Apapa,Lagos,Nigeria
Immediately the hoodlums sighted the vessel, they allegedly allowed it to sail within their weapons range before opening fire on it. The vessel was under

Blaze leaves man fighting for his life
this is – Winchester,England,UK
By Chris Yandell A MAN was fighting for his life in hospital last night after he was burned in a fire aboard a former sail training vessel.

Comoran ship catches fire – Paris,France
A Comoran ship, Bushralher, caught fire at the port of Moroni on Monday, but firemen promptly brought it under control, the gendarmerie brigade at the port

NGA – special warning re operations off Nicaragua

The US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) issued a Special Warning that Nicaragua is strictly enforcing its waters on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides.  Small vessels, such as yachts and fishing vessels, are particularly subject to being stopped and inspected.  Vessels suspected of operations inconsistent with Nicaraguan law are subject to detention.

Posted 06/11/08 at 10:29 AM

Lloyd’s Register has developed a voluntary assessment program, designed to support the practical implementation of the forthcoming ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006) on new and existing ships.Not yet mandatory, the MLC, a significant development in international shipping described as a ‘bill of rights’ for maritime labor,

Accurate reporting
By Richard Meade
Addressing precisely this issue last week, IMO secretary-general Efthimios Mitropoulos issued a not so subtle reminder to member governments on the importance of their casualty investigation duties.

Valero agrees to pay penalty for 2006 oil spill – Midland,TX,USA
of the Clean Water Act. The June 1, 2006 accident involved about 3400 barrels – or nearly 143000 gallons – of oil that leaked into the ship channel.

WCO – impact of US 100% container scanning requirement

The World Customs Organization (WCO) issued a press release stating that a study of the global impact of the US 100% maritime container scanning legislation indicates that global trade, shipping, port, and Customs administrations would have to undergo pivotal and costly changes to accommodate such a requirement.  WCO members are largely of the opinion that container scanning is only one element of a more comprehensive intelligence process based on risk management and the sharing of information.

Beware The Load Binder – It Might Bite Back!

 Maritime Safety Forum  Comments Off on Beware The Load Binder – It Might Bite Back!
May 092008

Use the right tool for the job. Heard it before? Of course you have, and I’m sure this AB in this safety alert from Marine Safety Forum had heard it too:

An AB was securing an anchor buoy with a chain using a lever-type load binder. He had tensioned up the binder using a piece of pipe. He thought it was locked in position; however, when he released it the handle sprung back with force and struck him on the forehead just above his right eye. If the handle had hit him slightly lower down he could have lost the use of his eye.

  • Never use unofficial equipment such as, in this case, a piece of pipe. Use the correct cheater bar which is designed to fit the load binder.
  • Consider using ratchet-type load binders instead.
  • If a lever-type is used, two persons should work together.
  • Always work so that the lever will fly away from you or your colleague if your grip is lost or the handle is not locked.