Lessons Learned: Bulk Carrier Grounding Due To Misjudged Tides


  • A bulk carrier encountered two groundings while attempting to enter a harbor, resulting in delays and detention.
  • The incidents highlight the importance of careful planning, effective communication, and hazard recognition in maritime navigation.

The navigational challenges faced by a bulk carrier attempting to enter a harbor serve as a cautionary tale for maritime operators. Despite careful planning and coordination between the pilot and master, the vessel experienced two groundings, leading to delays and operational setbacks. This incident underscores the critical importance of adhering to best practices in navigation to ensure the safety and efficiency of maritime operations.

Planning and Timing

Navigating through tidally constrained harbors requires precise timing and careful planning to avoid mishaps. In this case, the pilot and master missed the predicted high water time by a narrow margin, leading to challenging conditions during the entry attempt. Waiting for favorable conditions, regardless of operational pressures, is essential to prevent accidents and ensure safe passage into ports.

Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication between the pilot and master is paramount in navigating challenging waters. In the incidents described, both parties harbored concerns about the entry plan but failed to communicate them effectively. Implementing practices such as thinking aloud and open dialogue about environmental conditions can facilitate better decision-making and risk management during navigation.

Hazard Recognition and Adaptation

Hazards such as shoals near harbor entrances pose significant risks to vessel navigation. While the shoal in this case was recognized as a hazard, complacency and familiarity with the risk contributed to the accidents. Acknowledging changing conditions and adapting navigation strategies accordingly are essential for mitigating risks and ensuring the safe passage of vessels into harbors.

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Source: MAIB


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