Maritime Safety News – 29 May 2009

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May 302009

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Two dead, one rescued in gas poisoning accident on Chinese ship
Xinhua – China
The navy ship was alerted for help because local maritime rescue ships could not approach Zheyuyu 1616 on the rough sea. Six hours later the navy reached .

2 hospitalized in La. after explosion on vessel
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two crew members have been flown to a hospital after an explosion aboard a supply vessel off the Louisiana coast.

Fire breaks out on Italian ferry, all safe
The Associated Press
The cause of the fire was still being investigated. The ship, which belongs to the Italian ferry company Tirrenia di Navigazione SpA, was being towed

Ship runs aground in Bosporus strait
eTaiwan News – Taiwan
AP A maritime official says a St.-Vincent and Grenadines-flagged ship has run aground in Istanbul’s Bosporus. Salih Orakci, head of Turkey’s coast security,

Australian officials consider quarantine to keep cruise ship
USA Today – USA
The Brisbane Times reports only passengers who live in Brisbane or the surrounding state of Queensland will be allowed to leave the ship

Dead skipper’s family to sue trawler owners
New Ross Standard – Wexford,Ireland
However, a stability investigation to understand the stability profile of the vessel prior to the sinking was carried out by the MCIB

Harbour crash inquest witness admits to lie
ABC Online – Australia
In the statement she said she did not see or hear the HarbourCat, the Pam Burridge, prior to the collision.

Refrigerated cargo, indeed

A RUSSIAN ship captain has been charged with illegally transporting 56 passengers for four days, with a prosecutor alleging that they were essentially trapped in the refrigerated hold.

MCA publishes ‘Our Plans for 2009-10’

Maritime Journal – Fareham,UK
As part of its work towards tackling seafarer fatigue, MCA surveyors will be taking a critical look at the hours of work/rest records during surveys

Newcastle harbour chain secrets revealed
Newcastle Herald – Newcastle,Australia
Safety Bureau’s investigation into the Pasha Bulker grounding on Nobbys Beach for refit and another ship will take over the rest of the operation.

Eyes on the ocean
Times-Standard – Eureka,CA,USA
The system can be used to track oil spills — it helped during the massive spill from the Cosco Busan in San Francisco Bay — and to determine the direction

NOAA Says Changes in Vessel Operations May Reduce Risk of Endangered Whale Shipstrikes

Years of study and effort by NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard will pay off this summer when two changes to shipping lanes into Boston

NTSB: Expanded Release of Accident Investigations to Begin Next Week

Washington, DC (May 28th 2009): The National Transportation Safety Board today announced that it will begin to release all accident investigation public .


Kadhafi wants Somali exclusion zone to fight piracy
such as Frontex — the EU agency specialised in border security — to protect “our maritime wealth” and warned against the spread of piracy.

G8 discuss cooperation on organised crime and piracy
Reuters UK – UK
closer cooperation in fighting organised crime and greater aid to African states to tackle drug trafficking cartels and rising maritime piracy.

AMSA Advises Hookers

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Jul 092008

With the typhoon season getting well underway the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has issued anchoring guidelines to help masters avoid joining Pasha Bulker on the ‘Oops Roster’. They might also be useful to bear in mind when dropping the hook elsewhere in a storm.

The influence of the Pasha Bulker incident is apparent in the AMSA Marine Safety Notice. In addition to Pasha Bulker, several others vessels found themselves in trouble in the same storm in part because they had not taken on extra ballast to meet the weather conditions.

AMSA advises: “At all times ballast condition must be maintained so that the ship’s propeller is fully submerged and the vessel’s forward draught and trim are such that the requirements of the vessel’s stability book are maintained and forward slamming is prevented. In the event that deteriorating weather is forecast the Master must make a timely decision to take on heavy weather ballast before conditions become so extreme that ballasting becomes a risky operation.”

During the Pasha Bulker storm, several ships expected Newcastle Vessel Traffic Information Centre, VTIC, to instruct them whether or not to leave the anchor and get underway but the VTIC didn’t have that authority. Says AMSA “The Master must assess the wind and sea conditions and get the vessel underway whenever necessary. He should not wait for instructions from the harbour VTS or port authority, whether in a designated anchorage within port limits or not, if the Master considers the safety of the ship requires such action.”

Where port authorities do not designate an anchorage AMSA reminds masters to take into account “Ample swinging room to be left from charted dangers and other vessels… Good holding ground must be sought whenever possible. Recommendations may be found in Admiralty Sailing Directions and commercially available port guides….An adequate amount of cable, based on a

published well-tried formula and the Master’s experience of the vessel, is to be veered.”

In line with the requirements of STCW, AMSA says: “It is absolutely essential that routines are in place so that the ship’s position is regularly checked. Use of GPS, ECS systems, bearings and radar ranges is recommended. Prevailing weather, predicted weather, tidal streams, proximity of land and traffic congestion at the anchorage must be taken in to account when specifying the position checking routine.”

Keep an eye on the weather and be aware of how vessels at anchor may be affected by local conditions. Says AMSA: “For example intense depressions may form in the Tasman Sea which engender galeforce winds and heavy seas off the south-east coast ports. Ports on the Queensland and north-west coasts are subject to tropical cyclones (typhoons) of extreme violence.

It is essential that the Master monitors current weather forecasts and warnings. Weather forecast

services are contained in the Admiralty List of Radio signals Vol 3 part 2. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology makes available coastal forecasts and warnings on their internet site:”

Because of the threast of sudden and unexpected extreme weather conditions, AMSA advises: “Ideally the main engines, steering gear, or windlass must not be dismantled or immobilised whilst at anchor as conditions may deteriorate at short notice. If defect rectification makes work on any of these machinery items essential, the situation should be advised to the harbour VTS for their information and on-forwarding to the relevant harbour master and/or port authority. Appropriate notice for sea will be required to mobilise machinery.”

Current AMSA notices can be downloaded here.

Raise A Stubbie To The Pasha Bulker

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Jun 082008

Since it’s a year, almost to the day, since the Pasha Bulker ran aground on Nobby’s Beach, Newcastle, Australia, you might be wondering why I didn’t launch the associated postcast, The Case Of The Unlucky Hooker, to coincide with the anniversary. It was tampting but I didn’t want to rain on anyone’s parade and spoil it for Newcastle, a city with three things going for it, coal, coal and coal, until now.

True, the event gave politicians a chance to squeal at each other like a bunch of pubescent schoolgirls, but it seems that the site of that ship hopelessly stranded clicked a link in the Australian pysche, certainly their respond was somewhat more measured than the lawyer-induced yammering of the Cosco Busan incident.

Pasha Bulker became a sort of local hero. It was almost impossible to park near Nobby’s Beach thanks to a spurt of tourists, it earned itself a streaker, one inspired Youtube video fantasy had her being rescued by Thunderbirds , another turned her into a Transformer.

Recently, Phillip Vernon, in a comment on our WordPress site said: “If or when it returns to newcastle I imagine there will be a fuss made over her with lots of people to welcome her back.” He’s probably right.

After all, the local government has kicked in A$20,000 to commission commemorative artwork of the event, including a pieceof the rudder. Newcastle’s Lord Mayor, John Tate, is quoted as saying: “Visitors still come here and look at the beach in that regard … so not only will it be a piece of art, it will also be something that will be able to be identified as another tourism attraction,” he said.

“In fact, what happened, the experience with the Pasha Bulker brought a lot of people to Newcastle and I know that there will be people in the future that want to visit that location again.”

look at the beach in that regard … so not only will it be a piece of art, it will also be something that will be able to be identified as another tourism attraction,” he said.

“In fact, what happened, the experience with the Pasha Bulker brought a lot of people to Newcastle and I know that there will be people in the future that want to visit that location again.”

There is, however, no truth to the rumour that they’re erecting a large sign on the shore reading “Newcastle welcomes careless captains”

The Master of the Cosco Busan must be weeping.

In the building next to mine sits a rather large Australian former-submariner, Tony, whose creed in response to a crisis is “she’ll be right”. Indeed, for Newcastle, she did come right. Now it’s a city with four things going for it: coal, coal, coal and Pasha Bulker.

So come lunchtime, it’s off to the pub to down a few frosty stubbies to the Pasha Bulker. G’day, mate.

Maritime Safety News Today – 5th June 2008

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Jun 052008

Oil spills as merchant ships collide off Uruguay
MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) – Merchant ships from Greece and Malta collided off the coast of Uruguay, dumping fuel oil from one of the vessels, Uruguay’s Navy said on Wednesday in a statement.

A government environmental official said the wind was blowing the “medium-sized” spill across the vast Rio de la Plata estuary towards Buenos Aires in Argentina. The estuary separates Uruguay and Argentina.

The accident occurred late on Tuesday between the Greek ship Syros and a Maltese vessel named Sea Bird, the latter of which had been anchored about 12 miles off the coast of Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital.

Norden ship has Bulgarian owner
Focus News – Sofia,Bulgaria
On Tuesday a Bulgarian sailor, Dimitar Mihaylov (41), fell off the vessel, Dimitar Pekov with the marine accident investigation unit, told Focus News Agency

Cruise ship scrapes ocean floor, halts trip
Anchorage Daily News (subscription) – Anchorage,AK,USA
The ship’s staff called the Coast Guard to report the accident at about 8 am, Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read said. The ship is not grounded;

Uruguay worried about fuel leak after ship collision
Earthtimes (press release) – London,UK
activists in Uruguay were on Wednesday trying to bring under control a fuel oil leak on its Atlantic coast brought about by the collision of two ships.

Wild Newcastle weather forces ships to deeper water
Bad weather in Newcastle has prompted several coal ships to head to deeper water to ride out the storm.

Four ships have voluntarily moved out to sea, while 23 vessels remain at anchor.

Heavy rain, strong wind gusts and big seas are expected tonight and ship captains are keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s Pasha Bulker vessel grounding.

Newcastle Port Corporation chief executive Gary Webb says all of the ship’s captains have been told the weather is likely to worsen and it is up to them if they head to sea.

“We have been advising vessels of weather warnings… of the conditions, but it is the master’s responsibility for the safety of the vessel and what happens on board,” he said.

Ocean search unsuccessful after mysterious Mayday calls
Eagle Tribune – North Andover,MA,USA
There was no report of the ship taking on water or a fire, but the calls said one engine was disabled, he said. Heise said the boat — roughly twice the size

Marine Board of Investigation hears testimony in Boston
By Dave Shirlaw(Dave Shirlaw)
This is the fourth convening of the board, whose purpose is to determine the cause of the sinking of the Alaska Ranger, and to make recommendations for preventing future maritime disasters. Two witnesses testified at the hearing,

Mitropoulos hails fall in casualty numbers
By David Osler
GOVERNMENT enforcement and shipping industry compliance of International Maritime Organization measures has resulted in casualties halving over the last quarter of a century.

Frigate intervenes in pirate attack
A frigate based at CFB Esquimalt, now patrolling near Somalia off the Horn of Africa, saved a commercial vessel from a pirate attack yesterday.

Crew on HMCS Calgary received a distress call yesterday morning from a vessel that had fallen under small arms fire. As the warship changed its direction and sped toward the attackers, the ship’s Sea King helicopter was redirected toward the pirates to gather information, the Department of Defence said in a release.

USCG Investigates Sinking Vessel
WAUKEGAN, Ill. – The US Coast Guard is continuing its investigation to determine why the charter fishing vessel “Fin Seeker” sank in severe weather two miles off the coast of Waukegan, Ill. in Lake Michigan on May 30.

GAP Adventures acquires replacement ship
TravelMole – London,England,UK
GAP Adventures, which lost the ship MS Explorer when it sank in the Antarctic last year, has acquired a replacement vessel.

Harbour safety prompts fines up to $100000
Sydney Morning Herald – Sydney,New South Wales,Australia
New maritime safety laws including fines of up to $110000 for dangerous or negligent navigation will be introduced by the NSW Government in the wake of a

Wild Newcastle weather forces ships to deeper water
ABC Online – Australia
Heavy rain, strong wind gusts and big seas are expected tonight and ship captains are keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s Pasha Bulker vessel grounding.

No investigation by coastguards
Falmouth Penryn Packet – Falmouth,UK
Allegations had been made by divers operating off the diving vessel Cousin Jack that HMS Enterprise had gone too close while they were diving in Falmouth

City ferry captain sinks prosecution
Manawatu Standard – Palmerston North,New Zealand
He was cleared of two charges, but found guilty of failing to notify maritime safety officials of the incident. Mr Birchall appealed to the Wellington High

Coast Guard: Vessel’s captain was asleep in Feb. accident
Daily Press – Newport News,VA,USA
66-foot-long steel corps vessel Mobjack was not damaged, but the 74-foot-long fiberglass yacht Marquessa sustained significant damage in the accident.

Chamber of Shipping: Launch of two new information leaflets for – London,UK
The National Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Committee (NMOHSC) – comprising the Chamber of Shipping and the maritime unions Nautilus UK and RMT

HELCOM measures keep illicit oil spills in the Baltic near record lows
Newsdesk (pressmeddelande) – Stockholm,Sweden
of pollution control was substantially strengthened thanks to the CleanSeaNet (CSN) satellite service launched by the European Maritime Safety Agency.

May 232008

The ATSB has found that the grounding of Pasha Bulker on Nobbys Beach on 8 June 2007 occurred despite a gale warning that should have prompted the master to ballast the ship for heavy weather and take it to sea. A number of other ships also failed to take to sea.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation found that Pasha Bulker‘s master had an inadequate understanding of heavy weather ballast, anchor holding power and the limitations of Newcastle’s weather exposed anchorage.

The safety management system on board Pasha Bulker did not provide the master with specific guidance about safely putting to sea in adverse weather. Neither the masters standing orders nor the passage plan form prescribed in the safety management system contained any guidance with regard to bridge resource or team management or encouraged its use.

The investigation also found that a number of other ships attempted to ride out the gale at anchor and the majority dragged their anchors. A number of masters did not appropriately ballast their ships and many did not understand Newcastle Vessel Traffic Information Centre’s purely advisory role, expecting that it would instruct or inform them to put to sea at an appropriate time. It was also found that the substantial ship queue increased the risks in the anchorage and resulted in another near grounding, a near collision and a number of close-quarters situations at the time.

Newcastle Vessel Traffic Information Centres advisory role “was not properly understood by the masters of a number of the ships in the Newcastle anchorage on 7 June 2007” says the ATSB.

On 23 May, the Panamanian registered bulk carrier Pasha Bulker anchored about two miles off the coast near Newcastle and joined the queue of 57 ships to wait its turn for loading coal. The ship was ballasted for the good weather conditions. Newcastle anchorage is suitable only in good weather and nautical publications contain warnings about the local weather conditions and recommend that masters put to sea before conditions become severe.

On the morning of 7 June, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a gale warning for the area. Winds were expected to increase to 45 knots, with gusts up to 63 knots, after 0400 on 8 June with high seas and a heavy swell. At midday, Pasha Bulker‘s master deployed additional anchor cable and decided to monitor the weather and the ship’s anchor position.

By midnight, the southeast wind was gusting to 30 knots and ships began dragging their anchors. Newcastle Vessel Traffic Information Centre advised those ships that were dragging their anchors. Only seven ships had put to sea in the deteriorating weather while another had weighed anchor to berth in the port.

Newcastle Vessel Traffic Information Centre did not cancel the scheduled berthing of any ship even after weather conditions had become severe. This may have compounded the confusion of some masters about the appropriate time to leave the anchorage. Advice was limited to the masters of only those ships that were dragging their anchors. Some masters assumed, incorrectly, that the appropriate time to weigh anchor was when the centre informed them that their anchor was dragging and may have waited for this guidance to leave the anchorage.

The masters of four ships were rerquested to leave the anchorage at a very late stage, when the weather conditions were extreme and just before Pasha Bulker grounded. The masters of several ships, including Pasha Bulker, had expected the centre to provide them with similar guidance earlier, when weather conditions warranted, enabling them to safely clear the coast.

On 8 June , one ship fouled its anchor on a discarded anchor cable which delayed it from safely putting to sea. At least 40 discarded anchors and cables lie on the seabed in the Newcastle anchorage but most are not charted. The position of some of these hazards and the approximate location of others is known to Newcastle Port Corporation. Such information could be used by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, New South Wales Maritime and the Australian Hydrographic Service to take the necessary action to enhance maritime safety.

By 0600 , the wind was gusting to nearly 50 knots and Pasha Bulker was amongst 27 ships still at anchor. At 0637, when the master was certain that the anchor was dragging, he decided to weigh anchor. At 0748, the ship got underway and for more than an hour, moved in a northeast direction parallel to the coast about one mile away with the wind on its starboard bow.

Newcastle Vessel Traffic Information Centre asked the masters of three ships, including Pasha Bulker, to leave the restricted area off the ports entrance. Given that all three ships were struggling to clear the coast and that there was no need to keep the area clear because there was no traffic into or out of the port, these communications were of no benefit and unnecessary, and may also have adversely influenced the decisions of masters, including Pasha Bulker‘s.

At 0906, the master decided to alter course to put the wind on the ship’s port bow and clear the coast in a southerly direction. The course change in the extreme weather was poorly controlled and Pasha Bulker‘s heading became south-westerly instead of south-southeast as intended. The ship then rapidly approached Nobbys Beach and the master’s desperate attempt to turn the ship to starboard to clear the coast inevitably led to its grounding at 0951 with both anchors in their hawse pipes.

The ATSB says that safety actions have already been taken following the incident but has issued a number of other recommendations and safety advisory notices with the aim of preventing similar incidents in the future.