Lesson Learned: Bulk Carrier Colliding With A Fishing Vessel Due To A Delayed Reaction


  • A nighttime voyage of a medium-sized bulk carrier turned perilous when it encountered fishing vessels, leading to a collision due to miscommunication and distraction onboard.
  • Examining the incident reveals valuable lessons in collision avoidance, monitoring, guidance for new crew, and managing risks effectively.

The incident underscores the importance of meticulous planning in collision avoidance, adhering to the COLREGs while balancing trade-offs. The need for early decision-making and clear communication with the master, especially for inexperienced officers, is crucial. Every plan must consider potential risks and consequences to ensure the safety of all vessels involved.

Vigilant Monitoring of Situational Changes

Continuous monitoring of the navigation environment is essential to promptly respond to developing situations. Distraction onboard, as seen with crew members watching a movie, can lead to delayed reactions and increased risk of collisions. Maintaining alertness and focus during watchkeeping duties is paramount to ensure the safety of the vessel and its crew.

Guidance for New Crew Members

Providing adequate training and guidance to new and junior crew members is vital for enhancing their competency and confidence in navigating challenging situations. Understanding the backgrounds and experiences of new joiners enables senior watchkeepers to offer tailored support and mentorship, ultimately fostering a safer and more capable maritime workforce.

Risk Management and Proactive Response

The collision’s aftermath highlights the importance of effective risk management and proactive response measures. The fishing vessel’s skipper demonstrated resilience and foresight in mitigating risks associated with damaged equipment, ensuring crew safety and vessel integrity despite the adverse circumstances. This incident underscores the critical role of proactive decision-making and contingency planning in maritime operations.

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Source: MAIB