Lessons Learnt: Collision in open water

Date: 07/06/2017
Source: Loss Prevention

Vessel Type: Tanker

Incident description:

A collision occurred between the subject tanker (4,829 GRT) and an overtaking dry cargo ship (93,152 gross tons) in conditions of good weather and visibility on the morning 4-8 watch. Both vessels were heading on a north easterly course towards a traffic separation scheme.

Before the collision, the tanker was on a course of 034° (T) and proceeding at a speed of 10.5 knots with the overtaking vessel on a course of 036° (T) and making 14.7 knots. The OOW on board the tanker was said to have ventured onto both bridge wings but without noticing the overtaking vessel.

Less than one minute before the collision, the tanker started to feel the effects of the bow wave from the dry cargo vessel. It appears that the stern of tanker was pushed to starboard, which resulted in her port side becoming exposed to the other vessel. The bow of the cargo vessel then collided with the port side of the tanker, pushing her over onto her starboard side.

The tanker sustained significant damage to her port side hull structure and consequential flooding, resulting in her crew abandoning the ship.

Lessons Learned:

  • The collision was principally caused by the failure of the overtaking dry cargo vessel to comply with her obligation under Rule 13 of the COLREGS to keep clear of the vessel being overtaken.
  • A proper lookout was not being maintained by the OOW on board the tanker by sight or radar over a full 360° arc of the horizon.
  • As a consequence of not keeping a proper lookout, the tanker failed to take the appropriate avoiding action required of a stand-on vessel under Rule 17 of the COLREGS.

The UK Club’s Loss Prevention team combines practical solutions that address Members’ needs and claims experience with research into the wider issues that impact directly on P&I insurance and the Club’s exposure to claims. Every year, the UK P&I Club deals with thousands of claims using the expertise and experience of its professional claims handlers, ex-seafarers and lawyers. With five decades of research into loss prevention issues the Club has developed a formidable body of technical material on maritime risks. Each month the Loss Prevention team aim to share some of the Club’s claims experience, by looking at real case examples and identifying lessons learnt to help Members avoid similar incidents – you can find past lessons learnt here: https://www.ukpandi.com/loss-prevention/training-advice/lessons-learnt/

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