Maritime Accident Casebook by Bob Couttie

Cosco Busan/Van Gogh: Size Doesn't Matter.

Comparing pilotage incidents like the Cosco Busan allision with the San Francisco-Oakland bridge and the grounding of the passenger ship Van Gogh in Devonport, Australia shows that size doesn't matter and that such incidents may be more common than realised suggests a new podcast from Maritime Accident Casebook.

In February 2008 Van Gogh ran aground while departing Devonport and under conduct of a pilot. Because there was no pollution, damage to the ship or injuries to people the incident made few headlines but its causes remain the same as those revealed by investigators from the US National Transportation Safety Board to be behind that vessel's disastrous contact, spilling 50,000 gallons of bunker.

Says writer and narrator of the new podcast, The Case Of The Master's Touch, Bob Couttie: "By coincidence, The Case Of The Master's Touch was in production when the NTSB meeting on the Cosco Busan was announced and, really, the only difference between the two was pure luck. There clearly are common issues which need to be addressed and there is a danger that the high profile of the Cosco Busan case will actually distract from them being addressed."

Recently the International Group of P&I Clubs issued a report on pilotage incidents involving claims of more than $100,000. The report identified an average of about 50 such incidents a year at an average cost of some $850,000.

Says Couttie: "The Van Gogh incident would not have appeared in the study, and there are others that fall under the radar."

Like all MAC podcasts, The Case Of The Master's Touch reveals the circumstances around a real event through an audio podcast and online materials available for free at the Maritime Accident Casebook website, www.maritimeaccident.org.

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. Using audio podcasts that can be played on any computer, MP3 Player or MP3-capable cellphone and online downloadable hard-copy transcripts, 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.

For further information about Bob Couttie's Maritime Accident Casebook see the website at http://maritimeaccident.org or e-mail him at mac@maritimeaccident.org