What Could Have Saved the Vessel from an Anchoring Casualty?


A bulk carrier sailed from Richards Bay, South Africa, on 20 June 2015 with 165,906 tonnes of manganite.  She was bound for a discharge port in China, en route Singapore for bunkers. The voyage was uneventful and the vessel arrived at Singapore on 09 July 2015.


There was another tanker that was resting at the anchor.  With the engine at half astern and the helm hard over to port, the pilot ordered the port anchor let go, with six shots in the water. Despite helm to port, the bulker swung to starboard, towards the tanker.  The pilot ordered full astern and dropped the starboard anchor.  The bulker continued her swing to starboard and struck the tanker amid ships at a speed of two knots, causing structural damage to both vessels but no pollution and no injuries to crew.

Both vessels reported structural damage above the waterline, although there were neither injuries nor pollution.



As a result of the allision, tanker sustained damages above the waterline.  A hole in her side shell plating between frame 56 and 57 and shell longitudinal 40 to 42 measured 4.9 m * 0.37 m.  The internal members were also found to be buckled.  The main deck plating between frame 56 and 57 and deck longitudinal 21 and 22 was deformed.  Damages were also visible on the port side 13 railing, fish plate, accommodation ladder and its control station/panel.  One fairlead was torn off its seat.



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


  1. Immediate Safety Factor
  1. The immediate cause of the accident was ineffective teamwork between the crew members on the bridge and the pilot.


  1. Latent Conditions and other Safety Factors
  1. Essential information on pilot’s intended passage or anchoring operations were overlooked, other than a note in the pilot card ‘as per passage plan’;
  2. The safety investigation found no compelling evidence to support any formal exchange of information on pilotage or anchoring position;
  3. The fact that the master did not query what seemed to be a deviation from the original anchoring decision may be suggestive of a situation where actually there was either no monitoring or no safety concerns on the new position which had just been indicated by the pilot;
  4. The probability of poor engine/helm response, strong starboard cant and the risk of allision with tanker were not recognized;
  5. A copy of vessel’s track submitted as documentary evidence of navigational progress was found unreliable when compared with the actual positions extracted from the VDR data;
  6. Horizontal and vertical communication lines within the bridge team members and the pilot, as an extended member of the team, was missing;
  7. Although the master and his crew members had a thorough knowledge of the vessel, they did not have an updated mental model;
  8. Both the pilot and the bridge team missed on perceptual information which was vital for their respective role in ensuring that the vessel’s anchors safely.  


  1. Other Findings  
  1. The shore authorities did not change the anchoring position originally communicated to the pilot by the VTS;

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Source: MTI


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