Latent Conditions and Safety Factors Oversight Result in Collision


Fishing nets entangled in the propeller


On 07 May 2016, the Marine Safety Investigation Unit (MSIU) was notified by the managers of MV Catalina, that at about 0500 (UTC), the Maritime Safety Administration of the People’s Republic of China had instructed the master of the vessel, which was enroute to Samarinda in Indonesia, to alter course for Ningbo, China, as Catalina was suspected of being involved in a collision with a fishing vessel.

Preliminary information indicated that FV Lu Rong Yu 58398 was towing a fishing net with another boat, FV Lu Rong Yu 58397, off Xiangshan coast in the East China Sea. At about 03411 , while making an alteration of course to starboard to prevent a collision, it was alleged that Catalina snagged the fishing gear, which resulted in Lu Rong Yu 58398 capsizing in position 29° 32.23’ N 123° 35.88’ E, with the loss of all persons on board. At the time, the weather was overcast and the visibility was poor. Both the second mate and able seaman who were on duty on the bridge, reported that they were unaware of any physical contact with the vessel.

Close view of scratch marks in way of cargo hold no. 1 starboard

During the course of the safety investigation, the MSIU was informed by the Maritime Safety Administration of the People’s Republic of China (MSA) that paint samples on the underwater portion of Catalina matched with the chemical characteristics of the paint on Lu Rong Yu 58398. Moreover, the safety investigation found that the bridge on Catalina was not properly manned to match the exigencies of navigation in restricted visibility and the observation of traffic by radar was inadequate.

Two recommendations have been made to TMS Bulkers, the managers of Catalina designed to assist the Company understand the way OOWs and look-outs operate on board its ships.


Findings and safety factors are not listed in any order of priority.

Traces of black and blue scratch marks covering the stem post

1. Immediate Safety Factor

  • The sinking of the fishing vessel was attributed to the loss of reserve buoyancy after she made contact with Catalina.

2. Latent Conditions and other Safety Factors

  • The thick fog and the probability of Lu Rong Yu 58398 in Catalina’s shadow zone ahead may have prevented the watch keepers from making a visual contact;
  • At the time of the collision, the navigational watch consisted of the OOW and the look-out;
  • Radar watches were not stepped up and the bridge lacked navigational supervision, both of which were necessary for the elimination of ‘one person error’;
  • The look-out was assigned the role of a helmsman;
  • Neither the master nor the OOW considered a reduction in the vessel’s speed;
  • The X band radar was not switched on and the AIS set was not effectively monitored;
  • The OOW found himself in a situation where adaptations to Company procedures had failed.

Area where traces of paint scratches were found in way of cargo holds nos. 1 and 2

3. Other Findings

  • The record of hours of work and rest of the master, second mate and AB showed that these were in compliance with the requirements of relevant international conventions;
  • The conduct on the bridge did not appear impaired by fatigue;
  • The analysis of the actions taken by the OOW did not suggest that he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs


In view of the conclusions reached and taking into consideration the safety actions taken during the course of the safety investigation,

TMS Bulkers is recommended to:

  • disseminate the findings of this safety investigation on board all ships under its management.
  • deploy shore personnel to carry out observations at sea in order to obtain an understanding of the actual conditions on board, with the aim to enhance knowledge of Company’s OOWs and look-outs on safe navigation.

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Source: Transport Malta


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