Maritime Safety News Today – 13th January 2008

January 13, 2008
Two dead in Baltic Sea lifeboat accident
Sydney Morning Herald – Sydney,New South Wales,Australia
Two people died and one was seriously injured in a lifeboat accident onboard a container freight ship in the Baltic Sea, officials said. 
Oil Tanker on Fire at Nigerian Port
Posted 01/11/08 at 10:31 AM

Reuters reported that an oil tanker burst into flames at Nigeria’s Port Harcourt on Friday after two loud explosions were heard, oil industry sources said. The tanker was berthed in a general cargo area, not at an oil exporting terminal, and crude exports from the world’s eighth largest oil exporter were not affected, the sources said..

Ferry Collision in Fog Near Macau Injures 140 People (Update1)
Bloomberg – USA
Low visibility may have caused the collision, Shun Tak- China Travel Ship Management Ltd., the operator of the two jetfoils, said in an e-mailed statement

Mozambique: Search for Shipwreck Bodies Called Off – Washington,USA
The maritime authorities in the central Mozambican province of Sofala have called off the search for further survivors or bodies following the sinking of a 

Coal ships stranded as fog causes power crisis
Shanghai Daily – Shanghai,China
The Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration yesterday opened emergency water channels to allow coal-supply vessels to make deliveries. 

Chief Engineer Sentenced

WASHINGTON—Mark Humphries, the former chief engineer of the M/V Tanabata, an American-flagged car-carrier ship based in Baltimore, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to six months in prison for conspiracy to make illegal discharges of oily waste and lying to the Coast Guard, announced Ronald J. Tenpas, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland.

Maritime Global Net – Warren,RI,USA
Units on scene reported that it was a close run thing that the vessel did not ground given the prevailing swell conditions and wind conditions which 

Drama in the Bay
Dorset Echo – England,UK
By Laura Kitching A TANKER at risk of grounding in Weymouth Bay is today secure at Portland Port. The 77000-tonne Mariella had drifted to within 200 metres 

Ship that hit bottom slightly damaged
The Grand Rapids Press – – Grand Rapids,MI,USA
The Coast Guard was notified of the incident in Muskegon, as required after any reportable grounding, and a hull inspection showed minor damage to the 

Strong current, human error probable causes of barge hitting bridge
San Francisco Chronicle – CA, USA
However, maritime sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said a likely cause was that the barge got away from the tug Pacific Wolf because of strong 

RNLI’s broadside after alert over ferry passenger
Basingstoke Gazette – Basingstoke,England,UK
A LIFEBOAT charity has called on Red Funnel to review the way it counts passengers on and off its vessels. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution said the 

Scientists Unveil Cause of Estonia Ferry Disaster
Spiegel Online – Berlin,Germany
By Ulrich Jaeger Scientists in Hamburg have simulated the sinking of the Estonia, the 1994 Baltic Sea ferry disaster that killed 852 people. 

Enclose Space Entry – Complacency Cannot Be Allowed To Grow

December 7, 2007

Commenting on the recent meeting of the Maritime Accident Investigators International Forum in Beijing, Stephen Meyer, Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents for the UK’s MAIB writes in the latest Safety Digest, released this month,

“Please read these cases and then consider, if accident investigators from around the world all see these same issues time and again in accidents, how confident are you that you/your ship/your company are getting them right?

The other key concern we all shared was the apparent growth in the number of accidents involving entry into enclosed/confined spaces. Although there are no examples in this Safety Digest, MAIB is currently dealing with three such cases, two of them fatal, and many other countries at MAIIF reported similar. Please look again at your systems and re-brief your crews on the importance of correct ventilation and entry procedures. This is a critical area, where complacency cannot be allowed to grow.”

Enclosed space entry accidents are a hot button for MAC. They’re covered specifically in two episodes (The Case Of The Silent Assassin and the Case Of The Electric Assassin – due for broadcast 7th December) as well as the related Case Of The Lethal Lampshade – all available on the podcasts page.

Sadly, such cases often involve multiple casualties: the seafarer who was first effected followed by the would-be rescuer/s.

Of the incidents we’ve looked at to date one theme seems to be consistent: ship’s officers who think they’re smarter than the people who wrote the enclosed space safe entry procedures and set poor safety standards that they pass on those those under their command. Poor monitoring of safety procedures by the ship’s management and an almost total lack of competency assessment compound the problem.

Be pro-active. Always assume an enclosed space is dangerous, because it is, know the rules about safe entry and stick to them.

NTSB Norway Report Released – Norwegian Cruise Line/Bureau Veritas Criticised

December 4, 2007

Boiler No. 23 on the S/S Norway, formerly the France, exploded on May 25, 2003 in Miami, Florida, killing eight crewmembers, seriously injuring 10, with another seven minor injuries. Damage was estimated at up to $23m.
The Norway was one of the last steam-driven cruise liners operating from US ports. When launched as the France she was the longest cruise liner in the world.  She was scrapped following the accident after 43 years in service.

The cause of the accident, according to the just-released NTSB report was: “the deficient boiler operation, maintenance, and inspection practices of Norwegian Cruise Line, which allowed material deterioration and fatigue cracking to weaken the boiler. Inadequate boiler surveys by Bureau Veritas contributed to the cause of the accident.” However, NTSB member Katheryn O’Leary Higgins voted down the brief.

Full details are available here. 

The Norway

The SS Norway

Maritime Safety News Today – 3rd December 2007

December 4, 2007

Five Egyptians die in Nile river cruise ship fire
Reuters South Africa – Johannesburg,South Africa
The accident occurred shortly after an Italian tourist was lightly injured when a charter plane bound for the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm 

Bauxite carrier runs aground in Gladstone Harbour
Courier Mail – Australia
It is feared the grounding might cause the port to be closed for days. Early indications are that a large ocean-going tug from Sydney might be needed to 


VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced that the federal government has successfully prosecuted the Motor Vessel Andre, a Hong Kong-registered bulk carrier for spilling over 7,500 litres of oil into Vancouver Harbour. The pollution incident occurred on July 4, 2006 while the vessel was bunkering fuel oil at anchorage in the Port of Vancouver.

EC – reasoned opinions regarding port security The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it is sending reasoned opinions to Estonia, Malta, Spain, and the United Kingdom for failing to transpose the European rules on enhancing port security into their national law. (11/30/07).

Bunker Convention to Enter Force in ’08

Posted 12/03/07 at 10:48 AM

Pollution damage from fuel oil carried on ships will be covered in 2008 with entry into force of international bunkers liability and compensation convention The last significant gap in the international regime for compensating victims of oil spills from ships is set to be closed, with the entry into force on 21 November 2008 of an international.

Customs expanding cargo risk analysis

Official says agency’s participation in Security Filing Initiative and the Import Safety Action Plan underscores its efforts to leverage its resources through risk-based assessments.

Maritime Safety News Today – 19 November 2007

November 19, 2007

VI-20071118-14168-JPN – Vehicle Accident – Asia – Japan
A cargo ship with 36 people on board, most of them Russians, sank in the Sea of Japan on Sunday but the crew and passengers escaped on life rafts, the Russian Emergencies Ministry said. The ship sank during a storm about 180 nautical

Russian, Cambodian ships collide in Kerch Strait
Xinhua – China
17 (Xinhua) — A Russian ship collided with a Cambodian vessel early Saturday in the Kerch Strait, but the accident posed no new threat to the environment

Sailor dies after ship accident
BBC News – UK
The 48-year-old man was on board a boat berthed at Greenhead in Lerwick, Shetland, when the accident happened. Northern Constabulary said police and

1 dead, 1 injured from accident in Sabine-Neches Ship Channel
Beaumont Enterprise – Beaumont,TX,USA
One man drowned and another is in the hospital after they fell 70 feet into the Sabine-Neches Ship Channel on Friday, according to information from the Port

Concern grows for ship seized by pirates off Somalia
Rampant piracy off Somalia stopped in the second half of 2006 but resumed when an Islamist movement that had enforced strict rule was ousted by Ethiopian

Pilots, captains to blame for Bay Area spill
Los Angeles Times – CA,USA
AN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard said Friday that its radar systems could not have clearly shown that a cargo ship was about to collide into the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and spill oil into the San Francisco Bay.

FEATURE: Boat captain recounts piracy ordeal
Indonesia remains the world’s worst piracy hotspot, with 37 attacks in the first nine months of this year, the International Maritime Bureau said. Pirate activity is on the rise, with the biggest increases off Africa, and particularly

Maritime Accident News Today – 23 October 2007

October 23, 2007

Fatal ship in £155M coke haul
Sunday Mirror – UK
A freighter involved in a fatal accident has been seized off the coast of West Africa with cocaine worth £155million on board. Much of the stash found on

Up to 31 dead in Indonesia ferry accident
Radio AustraliaAustralia
Indonesia’s Transport Ministry says that only 60 people were recorded on the ship’s manifest before it capsized carrying an estimated 188 passengers. 

Official: 24 Drown Off Mexico Coast
The Associated Press –
The survivor was a 24-year-old Honduran woman who said the ship departed from Guatemala and that it capsized on Tuesday with more than 20 people aboard, .

Two dead in fishing boat accident
Earthtimes – London,UK
NEW YORK, Oct. 22 A fisherman aboard a capsized boat in New York survived for an hour and a half in an air bubble in the ship’s cabin. 

Chancing the Chain Locker Assassin

October 22, 2007

The Marine Safety Forum Safety flash on three fatalities in a chain locker aboard what was, in fact, the Viking Islay in September this year in BP’s Amethyst Field, which is currently under investigation by the UK’s MAIB, is a reminder that the Silent Assassin remains among us.

Just a month before the Viking Islay incident the rotting remains of a missing fisherman were found in the chain locker of the Pacific Explorer in New Zealand  He’d been missing for a year. Foul play is not suspected, but foul air certainly is.

In 2005, Skuld P&I Club issued a ‘lessons to be learned’ following the death of one man and the fainting of another while inspecting a chain a locker.

More recently, the Londown P&I Club’s Stoploss tells the tale of an officer who made a risk assessment for work inside a large chain locker, concluded that there wasn’t any. Shortly afterwards a crewman collapsed while cleaning the locker with, of course, no breathing equipment or rescue equipment standing by. Fortunately the other crew member’s did NOT rush in to rescue him – they got a suitably equipped crewman to do it.

The culprit in these cases was oxygen depletion, the Silent Assassin that kills without warning. When metal and oxygen get together they make rust and suck oxygen out of the space and can, and do, take so much that oxygen levels fall to where they cannot sustain life. In that atmosphere you will die.

A chain locker is an enclosed space. Indeed, if it’s a box with a door in it anywhere on the ship, it’s an enclosed space. Always check oxygen levels and make sure the right equipment is standing by, just in case. If someone does collapse, don’t rush in the rescue unless you’re wearing the right equipment – self-contained breathing apparatus.

Maritime Safety News – 20 October 2007

October 20, 2007


Ferry sinks off Indonesian island

A passenger ferry has capsized off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, leaving at least 29 people dead, officials say.

Maritime Global Net – Warren,RI,USA
Meanwhile IMB’s regular weekly piracy report lists a number of violent incidents. At Bonny Island anchorage, Nigeria, three robbers armed with long knives

Missing captain of sunken Greek cargo ship found dead
Trading Markets (press release) – Los Angeles,CA,USA
It was the second maritime accident near Thessaloniki this month. Last Friday, a Greek ferry collided with a fishing boat 23 kilometers off the coast.

CG Chief Wants More Safety Regs – USA
Allen will lead a US delegation to a meeting in London of the International Maritime Organization to finalize requirements that any cargo vessel bound for .

Maritime Safety News Today – 15 October 2007

October 16, 2007

FreeSeas Inc. Reports Successful Refloating of Free Jupiter – USA
successfully refloated following its grounding incident on September 21, 2007. The vessel’s inspection by its classification society has been completed,

Four die in Malaysia ferry accident
By Signs of the Times(Signs of the Times)
in an accident that killed four people and injured four more, state news agency Bernama said on Sunday. At least 100 people were aboard the “Seagull Express”, an old and rickety ship that was battling engine problems as it headed

UK. Maritime and Coastguard Agency surveyors visit high speed
BYM News (press release) – Gibraltar,Spain
Tony Skeats from Belfast Marine Office said: “We will visit the Stena Voyager at the docks in Belfast to ascertain the safety and integrity of the vessel .

Ferry’s close call on harbour
Sydney Morning Herald – Sydney,New South Wales,Australia
a high-speed collision with a large commercial boat . It continued and narrowly missed another, smaller, vessel about 20 seconds later, a witness said.

Maritime Safety News Today – 27 September 2007

September 27, 2007

3 Crew Dead After North Sea Accident

Posted 09/25/07 at 12:21 PM

Three crewmembers died after an accident aboard a rescue vessel on the North Sea, the boat’s owners said Sunday. The accident is under investigation by Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch. The men, two Britons and a Pole, were working aboard the Viking Islay when the accident occurred, Vroon Offshore Services Ltd

Fatal accident idles Port of Oakland in California
Reuters – USA
Monday’s deadly loading accident and while port workers review safety procedures, port spokeswoman Marilyn Sandifur said. “Maritime operations have been 

Another Collision in Bay – Ships allowed to leave – Gibraltar
The vessels were subsequently inspected by surveyors and allowed to continue on the journey, after only minor damage was observed on the vessel

Indonesia detains pirates for tanker hijacking INDONESIAN authorities have detained 14 pirates who hijacked a product tanker over the weekend.

SA & US in joint maritime security exercise – South Africa
The SA Navy and a United States naval vessel are due to begin a three-day maritime security exercise off the coast of South Africa today. 

Pain, anger unite kin of victims of Africa’s worst ferry disaster
Only 64 people survived the accident which claimed more lives than the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 in which 1563 died. The large red-hulled vessel,