| Code: 105489 |

TIN news:   Another case in the latest UK MAIB Safety Digest provides lessons learned concerning an incident in which a platform supply vessel grounded when it left the buoyed channel of an unfamiliar port. 
The vessel was aground for several hours while its crew checked for damage and then deballasted. Once re-floated, the vessel continued into port, where a divers’ survey revealed that its hull was intact but that its propeller had been damaged. The vessel had arrived off the port during the hours of darkness and the bridge team decided to wait for daylight before entering it. The master was not familiar with the port and contacted the master of another vessel that was already alongside to obtain advice about the arrival passage. The employment of a local pilot was not compulsory and had not been considered when the voyage was planned.
During the night the wind strength increased, and a gale force wind was blowing as daylight broke and the vessel commenced its entry into the port. The approach channel was narrow and included several turns of more than 100° around potentially hazardous shoal areas, it was well marked with navigation buoys as well as sectored shore lights. The passage through the channel was also described in detail in the local pilot book, but the bridge team had not consulted this when the voyage plan was prepared.
As the vessel approached an alteration of course position, with the gale force wind right astern, the vessel’s turn was greater than expected, and it left the channel and grounded. Soundings were taken and the vessel’s ballast tanks were pumped out to reduce its draught. Three hours later, the vessel was re-floated and proceeded into the port without further incident.
The owner’s investigation of the incident concluded that the vessel’s speed over the ground on approach to the turn had been excessive, given the available depth of available water and the reduced width of the channel. It also concluded that the planning, execution and monitoring of the passage were not in line with best practice and the bridge team had lost situational awareness when the wheel over position for the course alteration was missed.
Lessons Learned
1. Effective voyage planning requires that the elements listed below are consistently followed by bridge teams:
• Appraisal of all relevant information.
• Planning the intended voyage from berth to berth.
• Executing the plan, taking account of prevailing conditions.
• Monitoring the vessel’s progress against the plan continuously.
2. In this case several control measures, which should have been considered when the plan was prepared, were missing:
• The arrival section of the plan did not include consideration of taking a local pilot. Even if a vessel is not subject to compulsory pilotage, when visiting an unfamiliar port with a potentially hazardous approach, it is prudent to obtain the services of a pilot.
• The voyage plan did not include reference to the sectored lights in the approach channel, use of which might have enabled the bridge team to maintain situational awareness and prevented the grounding.
• The local pilot book was not consulted when preparing the plan. The appraisal of all relevant information when preparing a voyage plan is essential.
• The vessel’s charts were not marked with “no-go” areas and parallel index lines had not been prepared for entry into the port. The identification of dangers and safe passing distances are essential elements of voyage planning and would have assisted the bridge team’s ability to retain situational awareness.

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