Bridge Manning Levels Implicated in Grounding

By MarEx 2014-11-06 18:06:00

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has released its report on the grounding of the liquefied gas carrier Navigator Scorpio on Haisborough Sand in the North Sea on 3 January 2014.

At 1521 (UTC+1) on 3 January 2014 the Liberia registered liquefied gas carrier, Navigator Scorpio, ran aground on Haisborough Sand in the North Sea. The vessel was undamaged by the grounding and there were no injuries or pollution; 2.5 hours later, it refloated on the rising tide. 

The investigation found that the vessel ran aground in restricted waters after the officer of the watch had become distracted and lost positional awareness. The passage plan was incomplete and the significant effects of wind and strong tidal streams had not been properly taken into account. Given the proximity to danger, appropriate navigational techniques were not applied and the bridge manning was insufficient. Additionally, weaknesses in the crew’s navigation capability had been identified during an audit of the vessel, however, follow up actions were not sufficient to prevent the grounding.

The vessel’s managers, Bernhard Shulte Shipmanagement, have conducted a thorough investigation into the grounding and taken action to prevent recurrence. This includes additional assessments and training for the crew of Navigator Scorpio as well as improvements to the safety management system. As a result, no safety recommendations were made in the report.

Report Conclusions
Navigator Scorpio was underway without a complete berth-to-berth passage plan. The plan that was prepared was not thoroughly checked by the master. In addition, when the master did identify a potential hazard, he did not take effective action to mitigate the danger. 
• When taking over as OOW, the 2/O was not aware of the navigational hazards ahead or the very significant effects of wind and tidal steam. He did not calculate an estimated time for the course alteration to 283°T and was, therefore, not expecting the radar alarm indicating the vessel was approaching the new leg.
• As the sole bridge watchkeeper, the 2/O was distracted by undertaking passage planning and chart corrections when on watch, causing him to miss the planned course change and lose positional awareness. 
• On the 283°T leg, the 2/O did not follow the master’s instructions to fix the vessel’s position at five minute intervals. However, this direction was impractical and the 2/O needed additional support, thus bridge manning was insufficient for the restricted passage. 
• After the alteration of course to 270°T, the 2/O did not effectively monitor the vessel’s position; no fix was taken when steady on the new course, no EP was calculated and radar parallel indexing was not used. The further alteration of course to 267°T was ineffective in regaining course.
• Unaware of the significant northerly set, the 2/O assessed that the intended track was being regained and plotted the 1515 fix where he perceived the vessel to be.
• Post the grounding, false information was added to the chart, which was not in the interests of safety.
• Although an internal audit had identified weaknesses in the vessel’s navigational capability, actions taken by the vessel’s master and managers as a result were insufficient to prevent the grounding.

Read the full report here.