Fatigue or Poor Watchkeeping Causes Collision


The Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) issued an investigation report on the collision between a container ship and a fishing vessel off Himeshima Village, Oita Prefecture, Japan, that killed one person. The report includes causes of the incident and lessons learnt, to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.

The incident:

While container ship SINOKOR INCHEON was proceeding east toward Mishima-Kawanoe Port, Shikokuchuo City, Ehime Prefecture, with a master and a second officer and other 15 crew members onboard, and while fishing vessel TOSHIMARU was proceeding north-northwest toward Mitajiri District of Mitajiri-Nakanoseki Port, Hofu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, with a skipper onboard, the two Ships collided at around 23:56 on February 19, 2016, off to the east of Hime Shima, Himeshima Village, Oita Prefecture.

TOSHIMARU received a hole and other damage to her port-side center shell plating and capsized, becoming a total loss. Her skipper was killed. SINOKOR INCHEON had abrasions on her bulbous bow.

Probable Causes:

It is probable that, off the eastern coast of Hime Shima at night, while SINOKOR INCHEON was proceeding east and TOSHIMARU was proceeding north-northwest, the two ships collided because second officer of SINOKOR INCHEON was not keeping lookout on TOSHIMARU, because he thought there was no danger of a collision and because Skipper of TOSHIMARU did not notice of SINOKOR INCHEON until it had come close to it.

It is probable that second officer of SINOKOR INCHEON thought that there was no danger of colliding with the other vessel because, when he extended the radar’s true speed vectors, he found that the tip of TOSHIMARU’s vector reached a point behind the tip of SINOKOR INCHEON’s vector.

It is somewhat likely that Skipper of TOSHIMARU did not notice SINOKOR INCHEON until it had come close to it, because Skipper of TOSHIMARU had accumulated fatigue; however, it was not possible to determine the situation of lookout, as Skipper of TOSHIMARU was killed in this accident.

Safety issues:

  • It is probable that Skipper B fell into the water when Ship B capsized, and it is somewhat likely that Skipper B could have been saved in a living state if a search and rescue operation had been started earlier. Therefore, 2/O A needed to follow the SMS manual and Master’s Standing Order and call Master A immediately, and use RADAR for search of Ship B, and when he was unable to observe Ship B’s lights after turning the rudder hard to port as he realized the danger of collision, Master A needed to report immediately to coastal state.

From below, it is also probable that the watch of Ship A was not in accordance with the requirements of the STCW convention.

  • 3/O A took over the watch without confirming danger of collision with Ship B after avoiding Ship C.
  • Ship A kept the chart table’s curtain open at night when 3/O A was writing the navigation record, etc., and 2/O A was not in a situation to perform appropriate lookout.

Safety Actions Taken:

After the accident, Company A directed the vessels it manages to execute the following items.

  1. Officers of the watch shall keep appropriate lookout and give their full attention to maintaining a complete grasp of the danger of collision.
  2. Officers of the watch shall not leave the bridge during navigation.
  3. Officers of the watch shall observe watch-changing procedures.
  4. Officers of the watch shall observe the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, and shall take a starboard course and make acoustic signals when they see a vessel ahead of the bow.
  5. Officers of the watch shall execute appropriate rescue measures without hesitation whenever it is thought that a human life may be at risk.
  6. Officers of the watch shall immediately report all emergencies, regardless of their nature, to the company and the safety manager.
  7. In the event that an abnormal situation occurs during navigation, officers of the watch shall stop VDR recording and backup data.


In view of the result of this accident investigation, the Japan Transport Safety Board recommends that KOREA SHIPMANAGERS CO., LTD. should take the following measures:

Instruct all crews on board operating ships to thoroughly comply with “STANDARDS REGARDING WATCHKEEPING” of the mandatory regulations of the STCW convention, the Safety Management Manual and Master’s Standing Order, including keeping appropriate lookout.

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Source: JTSB


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