Page 11 - 2021 - Q4 - Minerva in Focus
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Figure 3: Chart showing the ship’s planned and actual tracks prior to   Figure 4: Ship aground with the Pentland Skerries lighthouse visible
        grounding  /Source: MAIB                            in the background / Source: MAIB
       At 04:27, an Orkney Vessel Traffic Service Officer (VTSO) observed   cables ahead was imminent and that there was clear water to the
       the vessel on his radar heading towards the shallow waters of the   south. The OOW acknowledged the impending danger and indicat-
       Pentland Skerries and contacted the Shetland Coastguard Oper-  ed that he would change course, but his response was confused.
       ations Centre (CGOC). The CGOC watch officer then contacted the   The OOW reduced the range scale on his radar during the con-
       ship by VHF and queried whether the OOW was aware of the is-  versation and added a chart overlay to the display. At this point,
       lands two miles ahead. The OOW acknowledged the situation and   he realised that the proposed course between the two islands
       confirmed that the ship was “two miles from the course change.”   ahead  was  unsafe  as  there  was  a  shallow  reef  between  them.
       When the CGOC watch officer sought further confirmation that   He, therefore, selected hand-steering and put the rudder hard to
       the OOW intended to alter course to avoid the rocks, the OOW   starboard to try to steer away from the reef.
       replied that “we will see later.”                   However, at 04:43 the ship grounded on the Pentland Skerries at a
       The VTSO continued to monitor the ship but did not observe any   speed of 7kts (Figure 4). The sea was calm with light airs and good
       alteration of the course. Therefore, at 04:40, he contacted the ship   visibility in darkness. The ship sustained extensive damage to its
       directly by VHF and emphasised that a grounding on the rocks five   hull and was refloated seven days later.

         Lessons Learned                                     •   An effective risk assessment taking into account the prox-
                                                                 imity of navigational hazards while operating at night would
                                                                 have identified the need to retain an additional lookout.
         The following lessons learned have been identified based on the   •   Although there should have been sufficient time to regain
         information available in the investigation report and are not in-  the planned route when the OOW realised that the ship was
         tended to apportion blame on the individuals or company involved:  off track, he did not refer to all navigational information and
                                                                 instead chose a route between the islands that placed the
           •   The ship grounded because it drifted to the south of the   ship in imminent danger.
              planned track while on autopilot. The OOW did not monitor   •   The ship’s OOW responded to two verbal warnings of the
              the ship’s progress for about two hours, while sitting in the   danger from shore authorities, but the resulting action he
              bridge chair watching videos on his mobile phone.   took was not effective, indicating that his situational aware-
           •   The ECDIS was not fully utilised, and a number of naviga-  ness had been affected, nor did he call the master to assist.
              tional alarms could have been used to warn the OOW of the   •   The inclusion of meaningful details describing the navigational
              danger. If the bridge navigational watch alarm system had   hazards in the passage plan would have increased the OOW’s
              been switched on, this would have assisted the OOW to keep   awareness of the risks and helped him monitor progress.
              alert.                                         •   The ship’s Safety Management System (SMS) was deemed to
           •   The posting of an additional lookout would have further   provide insufficient guidance to support the safe conduct of
              assisted the OOW by providing navigational support as well   navigation as it did not have a policy regarding the use of
              as potentially helping the OOW to remain alert.    personal electronic devices during watchkeeping.

         The purpose of this case study is to support and encourage reflective learning. The details of the case study may be based on, but
         not necessarily identical to, facts relating to an actual incident. Any lessons learned or comments are not intended to apportion
         blame on the individuals or company involved. Any suggested practices may not necessarily be the only way of addressing the
         lessons learned and should always be subject to the requirements of any applicable international or national regulations and a
         company’s own procedures and policies.

                                                                  Source: Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) 11
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