Motorboat & Yachting: A MAIB report into the grounding of container ship Lysblink Seaways has revealed that the officer on watch was drunk at the time of impact.

DFDS Seaways has reiterated its zero tolerance policy on alcohol consumption, after a Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report found that one of its skippers was drunk at the wheel earlier this year.

On February 18, the 129m cargo vessel Lysblink Seaways ran agroundon the west coast of Scotland near the port of Kilchoan.

The grounding happened at 0232, when AIS tracking data revealed that the 7,500 tonne container ship was travelling at 14 knots.

The MAIB report explains the cause of the incident, saying: “During the evening, while off duty in his cabin, the chief officer made a private telephone call which caused him anxiety, after which he consumed about 0.5 litres of rum.”

The chief officer, a 36-year-old Russian male, took over as the officer on watch at midnight. The vessel began to deviate significantly from its planned route at 0211, and at 0212 the radar alarm sounded and was reset without any change of course as the ship left the Sound of Mull.

The report concludes that “the vessel grounded when the officer on watch lost situational awareness due to his consumption of alcohol,” but does not reveal whether he had fallen asleep or not before the collision at 0232.

Aftermath
Following the grounding, Stornoway Coastguard and RNLI Tobermorey were called to the scene and reported no injuries to the nine crewmembers, although 25 tonnes of oil were spilled into the sea.

Later examinations deemed the vessel a constructive total loss due to damage to the hull and as a result it was scrapped.

DFDS Seaways says that it operates a “zero alcohol policy on board vessels”, and since the grounding the firm has removed bonded stores of alcohol from some of Lysblink Seaways’ sister vessels.

Gert Jakobsen, vice president of communications at DFDS Group, told MBY: “The day after the incident the chief officer was no longer an employee of ours.

Gert also explained that the 59-year-old Norwegian master in charge of Lysblink Seaways was “due for retirement” after the voyage and so was not subjected to any disciplinary proceedings.

See article at Motorboat & Yachting

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Categories: Ability, Safety

Yachting & Boating World: A report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch concluded that the foam provided a ready source of fuel.


An investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has found that unprotected buoyancy foam packed around the engine compartment of a duck boat led to the fire on board in September 2013.

A total of 30 passengers and crew were forced to abandon Cleopatra after a major fire took hold during London Duck Tour’s (LDT) amphibious sightseeing tour on the Thames. Everyone rapidly abandoned the DUKW vessel and luckily no one was injured or killed as a result of the incident.

A report into the fire found that buoyancy foam recently packed into the central void space provided a “ready source of fuel for the blaze”. Following a previous incident in which a duck boat in Liverpool sank due to inadequate amounts of buoyancy foam, the MCA found LDT vehicles also had a lack of buoyancy foam and instructed them to increase the volume to meet UK standards.

However, practical trials and reconstructions carried out by the MAIB in July 2013 showed that the calculated foam required to provide sufficient buoyancy, could not physically be fitted into the designated locations.

Despite these findings, and MAIB recommendations, LDT continued to stuff increased quantities of foam into its vehicles. The report said: “LDT was under pressure to meet the damaged survivability standard and gave insufficient attention to the adverse effects and the risks associated with packing foam close to the unguarded drivetrain and unlagged exhausts.

“The operator chose to accept the increased maintenance burden and continued to operate its vehicles with an elevated risk of mechanical failure and fire.”

Grease contaminated buoyancy foam and an overheating shaft universal joint was the most likely causes of the fire, found the report. “Had the fire and subsequent abandonment happened at high water, or in mid-river, the likehood of serious injury or loss of life would have been significantly higher”, warned the MAIB.

As a result of the incident, the Marine and Coastguard Agency has made fitting an insulated fire protection bulkhead between the engine compartment and accommodation space on existing DUKWs a regulatory requirement.

They have also worked with LDT to develop a ‘reference DUKW’ standard and, as a result, approved a series of design modifications and allowed the company to resume operations on the Thames.
See article at Yachting & Boating World – Click here

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Categories: Accident

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch issues a safety warning after a boat burst into flames and sank off Lowestoft.

An uninsulated hot exhaust pipe is believed to be the cause for a 14m wind farm support catamaran erupting in flames and sinking, says a report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

As a result of the fire, the MAIB is urging all owners and operators to check all exhaust pipes on their vessels are fully insulated and don’t come into close contact with combustible materials.

ECC Topaz and its three crew had been 11nm east of Lowestoft when the boat caught fire earlier this year on 14 January.

The crew attempted to extinguish the fire but they were forced to abandon the boat and escape in a liferaft as the flames tore through the vessel’s structure.

The raging fire continued for almost two hours before the boat sank in 33m of water.

A coastguard helicopter rescued the three crew after receiving a Mayday call from the boat’s skipper.

The MAIB’s report found compelling evidence to suggest the source of the fire was due to an uninsulated section of the exhaust pipe from a diesel-fired air heater.

The MAIB report said: “The most likely cause of the fire on board ECC Topaz was the poorly insulated hot exhaust pipe igniting the plywood structure of the vessel.”

“The compartment where the heater was situated was not fitted with any fire detection or extinguishing systems, and contained several flammable items including sacks of rags, rolls of paper towels and several small drums of oil that would have provided additional fuel for the fire once it was ignited.”

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Categories: Boat insurance

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