MARS 189 - July 2008
Near miss while anchoring
Own vessel, a large, deep-draught loaded tanker, was proceeding to anchorage at night under VTS instructions. It was decided to anchor at least seven cables away from all vessels. The duty officer was on watch and the master had the con, with the helmsman on the wheel. During the final approach, we observed five ships at anchor (A,B,C,D & E as indicated in the figure below), all lying on westerly headings.
When four cables from the planned anchor position, with a speed of 1.8 kts, the bridge team noticed movement and propeller wash of ship 'D', a small cargo ship. Her ARPA vector also confirmed that she was making way and was on a near-collision crossing course. However, she continued to display all deck lights and anchor lights.
Having received no information on the ship’s movements, the OOW called her and inquired about her intentions, as own vessel was on her final approach to the designated anchoring position. As contact was established with ship ‘D’ on VHF, she switched off her anchor lights and switched on her navigation lights, although the deck lights were kept on. She informed own vessel that she would be leaving the anchorage by passing ahead of us.
We informed ship 'D' of our deep loaded condition, our intended anchor position and approach speed and requested her to keep a safe distance. Vessel ‘D’ acknowledged and agreed to abide. To our surprise and shock, however, she then proceeded to alter course very close across our bow. The master immediately ordered full astern on the engine to avoid a collision. Ship ‘D’ finally crossed own vessel's bow only 200 metres off. A verbal report was made to VTS.
The fire was the result of an electrical short circuit in the heater fitted around the wood frame of the door to the meat room. After isolating the electrical supply, a small water hose was used to extinguish the fire on the frame. The insulation and cladding around the door was subsequently removed and no further heat or damage was found.
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