CI Courses On Offer From NTSB

 maritime accidents, Maritime Investigation, South Africa  Comments Off on CI Courses On Offer From NTSB
Jan 282011

The US National Transportation Safety Board is offering two courses for investigators and industry professionals in the next two months.

The first course, Cognitive Interviewing for Accident Investigators, will be offered February 23-24, 2011, at the NTSB Training Center, and provides the foundational knowledge and skills needed to conduct interviews of participants in, and witnesses to, transportation incidents or accidents. Emphasis will be on the cognitive interviewing technique to maximize the amount and quality of information obtained during investigative interviews. This course will also focus on refining CI techniques and will provide the participant with numerous opportunities to gain confidence using the CI method through interactive discussion, demonstrations and exercises. Continue reading »

Sleepy Man Joins NTSB

 maritime safety, NTSB  Comments Off on Sleepy Man Joins NTSB
Jul 062010

image Fatigue specialist Dr. Mark Rosekind, has joined the US National Transportation Safety Board as a member. Dr Rosekind is an internationally recognized fatigue expert who has conducted research and implemented programs in diverse settings, including all modes of transportation, healthcare, law enforcement, elite athlete and military groups.

Also new to the NTSB is flight safety expert Dr. Earl Weener, a licensed pilot who has dedicated his entire career to the field of aviation safety. He most recently has been a consultant and fellow for the Flight Safety Foundation, where he worked to reduce accidents through coordinated industry programs.

The appoints were a announced shortly before the NTSB presented its annual report to the US Congress.

NTSB Annual Report

NTSB Tired of Fatigue

 fatigue, news, NTSB  Comments Off on NTSB Tired of Fatigue
Mar 062010

image Hard on the heels of warning by the UK’s MCA that it will gun for shipowners who allow hours of rest requirements to be flouted the US National Transportation Safety Board chairman,  Deborah Hersma has called for greater efforts by the sleep research and healthcare community to educate policy makers of the dangers of fatigue in transportation.

Hersma told the annual conference of the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, DC, Hersman that fatigue has been a concern for the Board since the creation of the agency in 1967 and it has been an issue on the Board’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements since the list was established in 1990.

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Nov 252009

The US National Transportation Safety Board’s course Marine Accident Investigation, MS 101, scheduled for 7-11 December, 2009, at the NTSB Training Center in Ashburn, Virginia near Washington, DC, still has openings for interested  mid- to senior-level marine industry professionals.

The weeklong course covers the Safety Board’s processes and procedures during a major marine accident; reviews human factors, medical factors, and electronic data elements in a marine investigation; offers best practices for comprehensive and thorough interviewing techniques; and shares report preparation guidelines.

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Alaska Ranger – Conservation Laws May Endanger Seafarers

 Accident, Accident report, Alaska, fishing, flooding, Sinking  Comments Off on Alaska Ranger – Conservation Laws May Endanger Seafarers
Nov 182009

Alaska Ranger

Loss of a rudder post from the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger lead to progressive flooding exacerbated by poor watertight integrity and a unexpected sternwards movement led to the loss of five of her 47 crew, and would probably have taken more if not for the rescue efforts of the US Coast Guard and the crew of a nearby ship, the Alaska Warrior, and the vessel itself. Most of those on board were asleep at the time of the accident.

The US NTSB has issued its final report on the sinking and in part is critical of conservation laws that prohibit shipowners from replacing unsafe vessels working in some of the harshest working conditions in the world.

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NTSB To Sit On Paddling Queen

 Accident report, engine room, fire  Comments Off on NTSB To Sit On Paddling Queen
Nov 132009

image The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a public board meeting at 0930 local time on Tuesday, 17 November, 2009, on a fire in the engine room of the 221-foot-long US small passenger vessel Queen of the West.

On April 8, 2008, the vintage-style, paddlewheel vessel was travelling east on the Columbia River near Rufus, Oregon, with 124 passengers and 53 crewmembers on board, as part of a 7-day cruise. The vessel had both an automatic fire detection and fixed fire suppression system on board, which functioned properly by alerting the bridge team and suppressing the fire.

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NTSB Opens Alaska Ranger Files

 maritime safety  Comments Off on NTSB Opens Alaska Ranger Files
Sep 032009

Julio Morales, an Alaska Ranger survivor, tells his side

Documents gathered by the US National Transportation Safety Board regarding the sinking of the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger in the Bering Sea, 120 nautical miles west of Dutch on 23 March, 2008 will be made public online at 0900 on 4 September on the  Safety Board’s website.

Five of the 47 persons aboard the vessel died, one falling from a rescue basket as it was being winched into a helicopter.  The wreckage of the Alaska Ranger is at the bottom of the Bering Sea and was not examined.

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Communication, Cosco Busan And Sex With A Duck

 allision, containership, maritime accidents, NTSB, Oakland, oil spill, pilotage  Comments Off on Communication, Cosco Busan And Sex With A Duck
May 092009

What, you might wonder, would bring together the NTSB, the IMO, the contact of  the Cosco Busan with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and a senior loan officer at a bank in Spokane, Washington, having sexual relations with a Mallard duck?

The NTSB has just released the full report of the Cosco Busan incident and among the issues is that of communications, problems of which are involved in about one in five maritime incidents.

That’s why it is good practice to confirm that information has been understood and that its importance is appreciated.

On the Cosco Busan the voyage data recorder recorded the following conversation between the Pilot and the Master:

Pilot:  “What are these… ah… red [unintelligible]?”
The master responded, “This is on bridge.”

The pilot then said to the master, “I couldn’t figure out what the red light… red… red triangle was.”

The Pilot took this to mean that the red triangles marked the centre of the span when, in fact they indicated the buoys marking the bridge support which the ship later hit. The Master did not realise the importance of the question.

Later, as things unravelled:

Pilot: [unintelligible] you said this was the center of the bridge.
Master: Yes.
Pilot: No, this is the center. That’s the tower. This is the tower. That’s why we hit it. I thought that was the center.
Master: It’s a buoy. [unintelligible] the chart.
Pilot: Yeah, see. No, this is the tower. I asked you if that was [unintelligible]. . . .
Captain, you said it was the center.
Master: Cen… cen… cen… center.
Pilot: Yeah, that’s the bridge pier [expletive]. I thought it was the center.

Says the NTSB report “Shortly after this conversation, the master can be heard saying, in Mandarin, “He should have known—this is the center of the bridge, not the center of the channel.”

In many Asian cultures ‘yes’ does not necessarily mean an affirmative, oner can pick from a range of meanings that would not naturally occur to a Westerner.

(The curiosities and confusion of language are touched upon in Bob Couttie’s new, lighthearted book, Chew The Bones, which you can buy from Amazon and the proceed of which will help support MAC)

In a recommendation letter to US Coast Guard commander Thad Allen the NTSB wrote: “The Safety Board therefore recommends that the Coast Guard propose to the IMO that it include a segment on cultural and language differences and their possible influence on mariner performance in its bridge resource management curricula.”

It’s tempting to think that closely allied languages like English and American present less opportunity for confusion, but you would be wrong. Take this example from Snopes’ wonderful Urban Legend site:

“Armstrong proceeded to shag ducks…”

You can read the rest of the story here. While mallards are known to have a somewhat ‘out there’ sex life, sex acts between humans and 10 days old ducklings are further out than most would want to go.

Apparently ‘to shag’ in American means to catch baseballs, to us Brits it has a rather different connotation.

The lesson is clear: communication is transmitting information, receiving information and understanding information. It’s vital to double each each part of that process, that the communication is understood and verified.

Otherwise, you could end up being shagged by lawyers, and not like a duck.

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.”