Boozing on the bridge of the feeder container vessel K-Wave, a missing OOW and an unexplained course alteration while on autopilot led to a grounding incident that Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch refers to as “shocking’. VDR recordings revealed numerous toasts during a birthday party, with the result that the officers’ jobs are now toast.
In its conclusions, the MAIB says: “The shocking nature of this incident, that put many lives and potentially, other vessels at risk, makes a powerful argument for the IMO’s new regulations limiting alcohol consumption by seafarers to be widely and robustly applied”.
At 0546 on 15 February 2011, K-Wave ran aground 13 miles east of Malaga on the south Spanish coast, while on passage from Algeciras to Valencia. At the time of the grounding she was proceeding at full speed, and the bridge was unmanned.
The previous evening an engineer came onto the bridge at 2335 and he remained there, talking to the third officer. At around midnight, the second officer and two other officers came to the bridge. The second officer took over the watch from the third officer, but no lookout was posted and the watch alarm was not activated.