Praiseworthy MSC Napoli Crew Knew The Drill

We’ll be covering the MAIB’s 56 page and two annexe MSC Napoli report in more depth anon but a footnote got our immediate attention:

“It was evident during the investigation that the master had placed a great deal of emphasis on the importance of safety drills and the maintenance of lifesaving equipment, and that the preparation and lowering of lifeboats had been well-practiced in accordance with company policy.”

No-one was hurt during the evacuation from the ship, and that may be owed to the seriousness with which the master took safety procedures and drills.

The abandon ship did not go without a hitch, “the crewman sitting nearest the forward painter release could not pull the release pin sufficiently far to allow the painter to disengage. He was squeezed between two other crew and his movement was restricted by his immersion suit. The painter was eventually cut by the chief engineer, who had a knife, and was able to reach the painter via the lifeboat’s forward hatch.”

Conditions in the lifeboat were far from easy: “The motion of the lifeboat was violent and the atmosphere in the lifeboat was very uncomfortable; all of the crew suffered from sea sickness. Although the lifeboat was certified to accommodate up to 32 persons, the 26 crew wearing immersion suits and lifejackets were very cramped. They were very warm and several felt faint and de-hydrated. The situation became more tolerable after the crew cut off the gloves from their immersion suits with the chief engineer’s knife. This allowed them to use their hands more effectively, and they were able to drink from plastic drinking water bottles they had brought with them.”

Says the MAIB report: “The abandonment of a vessel in any conditions is problematic. Therefore, the abandonment and successful recovery of the 26 crew from MSC Napoli, in the severe conditions experienced, is praiseworthy. By the time the master arrived at the lifeboat embarkation position, the crew were on board and wearing immersion suits and lifejackets, the engine was running, extra water had been stowed on board, and VHF radios, SARTs and the EPIRB were ready for use. Despite the vessel rolling heavily  the enclosed lifeboat was lowered without incident and then manoeuvred clear of the stricken vessel. Although there were a number of practical issues that should be noted, this successful abandonment clearly demonstrates the importance and value of regular maintenance and drills.”

Sadly, drills are often carried out for the sake of filling in bits of paper, and sometimes not at all, but drills are a pretty good insurance policy.

4 Responses to Praiseworthy MSC Napoli Crew Knew The Drill

  1. Nice article, I am looking forward to reading the in depth info.

    I wonder what his crew rotation is to have them that well trained.

  2. […] Maritime Accident Casebook shares with us MSC Napoli Crew Knew The Drill, they write: “It was evident during the investigation that the master had placed a great deal of […]

  3. […] which complimented the Captain and crew on their professionalism when it came to safety in “Praiseworthy MSC Napoli Crew Knew The Drill“. More on the MSC NAPOLI at gCaptain here “MSC Napoli Design Flaw. Is Your Ship […]

  4. Anshuman Naik says:

    Not much has been said about the crew, but usually Zodiac uses European crew – esp. former Red bloc countires. Having handed over one of our vessels to them, I remember that set to appear very professional.

    Here is what the report says about the officers –

    VESSEL MANNING

    MSC Napoli was conventionally manned with a master, chief, second,
    and third officers. The officers in the engineering department
    comprised the chief engineer, first, second, and third assistant
    engineer officers, plus an electrician. The crew consisted of seven
    deck, five engine and three galley ratings. There were also two officer
    cadets onboard the vessel. Details of the ship’s senior officers were:

    Master

    The master was a Bulgarian national and initially served in the
    Bulgarian naval fleet from 1983 to 1991. He joined his first merchant
    navy vessel, a bulk carrier, in 1992. After sailing on various vessel
    types as a third and second officer, he was promoted to chief officer on
    container vessels in 1998. He had sailed as chief officer on MSC
    Napoli in early 2002 and was promoted to master the same year. He
    joined MSC Napoli in late November 2006.

    Chief officer

    The chief officer was a Romanian national. He first went to sea in 2000
    as a deck cadet with a contract with Zodiac Maritime. He was
    promoted to third officer in 2001 and, before joining MSC Napoli, he
    had completed six contracts on board bulk carriers and container
    vessels, as a third and second officer. He joined MSC Napoli in early
    November 2006 for his first contract as a chief officer and had received
    a three day familiarisation handover period with his predecessor.

    Chief Engineer

    The chief engineer was a Bulgarian national. Following graduation from
    a naval academy, he joined his first merchant ship in 1984 and had
    sailed on various ship types as an engineering officer. He was
    promoted to chief engineer in 2000 and joined MSC Napoli in October
    2006.

    For more info on the weather and Extra tropical storm, do a web search on “Windstorm Kyrill” – something which offly the MAIB report failed to mention.

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