Stern Lines Entangle the Propeller of Bulker Resulting in Deadly Accident While Docking

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Propeller of Vessel A

Summary: 

During its service to help the cargo ship SWIFTNES dock at Tomakomai Port, Tomakomai city, Hokkaido, work boat Fuji Maru, with a coxswain and a workman on board, the mooring ropes being veered out from the aft deck of SWIFTNES entangled the propeller of SWIFTNES, and was drawn toward the propeller of SWIFTNES around 07:28 on January 30, 2017 then capsized around 07:29.

The coxswain of Fuji Maru died and the work man was wounded.

SWIFTNES suffered damage on her propeller.

Probable Causes:

It is probable that the accident occurred when, its service to help SWIFTNES (hereinafter referred to as “Vessel A”) dock at Tomakomai Port, in a circumstance in which the four stern lines which Fuji Maru (hereinafter referred to as “Boat B”) was towing and veered out from the aft deck of Vessel A, due to Vessel A’s engine was used, the four stern lines entangled the propeller of Vessel A, toward which Boat B was pulled and then capsized.

It is probable that the reason why Vessel A’s engine was used as the master and the pilot had not shared the information as for the four stern lines, had expected each other securing propeller clear which had not been conducted.  

Vessel A

It is probable that the reason why the master and the pilot had not shared the information as for the four stern lines were, the pilot did not request the master to report the progress of the docking work on the bow and the stern, the master did not report the pilot the progress of the docking work on the bow and the stern, the master and the officer communicated about directives and advices with Tagalog temporarily without following the Safety Management Manual.

It is probable that the reason why the master and the pilot expected each other securing propeller clear when advising a use of the engine were, the pilot considered the master being responsible for securing propeller clear when advising a use of the engine, the master thought that the pilot gave an advice to use of the engine after securing propeller clear when advising a use of the engine.

It is somewhat likely that the fact that the master did not understand the outline of the Pilotage, the workman send a signal to veer the mooring lines of the aft deck, the master thought he received an advice to send the four stern lines contributed Boat B towed the four stern lines.

It is somewhat likely that the fact that the pilot information card had no information about the first line to be sent to the Berth and the manner how to send, in addition the pilot did not update the outline of the Pilotage notwithstanding modifying the initial advice, contributed the master did not understand the outline of the Pilotage.

Boat B

Safety Actions:

It is probable that the accident occurred when, its service to help Vessel A dock, in a circumstance in which the four stern lines which Boat B was towing, due to Vessel A’s engine was used, the four stern lines were entangled the propeller of Vessel A, toward which Boat B was pulled and then capsized.

It is somewhat likely that the fact that the PIC had no information about the first line to be sent to the Berth and the manner how to send, in addition Pilot A did not update the outline of the Pilotage notwithstanding modifying the Initial Advice, the information as for the four stern lines was not shared, without securing propeller clear contributed Master A did not understand the outline of the Pilotage.

In addition, it is somewhat likely that if, measures which facilitate quickly release the four stern lines hooked on the Bitt in event of an emergency had been executed, the accident’s occurrence or the spread of the damage may have been prevented.  

Actions Taken:

  • Master shall have an officer stationed on the aft deck to secure propeller clear before using an engine.
  • Master shall report the information of stern lines and share it with the pilot.
  • Mooring Boat shall not send signals to veer mooring lines.
  • Measures which facilitate a quick release of the mooring lines to hook on the bitt, in the event of an emergency shall be executed.
  • Wheelhouse’s doorways shall be opened.

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Source: MLIT

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