The UK’s Maritime Accident Investigation Branch has issued its preliminary report on the grounding of the 1,409 gross tonnes general cargo ship Fingal on 7th September 2007. Needless to say the words “fallen asleep” and “on watch alone” occur in the same paragraph.
The MAIB Preliminary report says:
“The general cargo ship Fingal was carrying a cargo of timber, when she grounded on Sanda Island, south of the Mull of Kintyre, whilst on passage from Campbeltown to Londonderry. There were calm conditions and good visibility. The master had been on watch alone and had fallen asleep after making a course alteration, some 20 minutes before the grounding. The grounding occurred close to high tide and the vessel developed a list of about 14 degrees to port as the tide fell. Four of the crew were evacuated by lifeboat, as a safety precaution. No injuries or pollution occurred at the time of the grounding.
The crew returned the following morning when the vessel was refloated with tug assistance and proceeded to Troon, where a diver’s examination revealed bottom damage to the forward part of the vessel. Whilst alongside in Troon a minor overboard discharge of gas oil occurred during ballasting operations, resulting from a split between a gas oil bunker tank and an adjacent ballast tank, caused by the grounding.”
The Preliminary Examination revealed a number of safety issues including: manning levels; hours of work and rest; bridge lookout and audit of procedures. After reviewing the actions put in place by the vessel’s managers, following the accident, the Deputy Chief Inspector considered no further recommendations were necessary.