Praiseworthy MSC Napoli Crew Knew The Drill

April 22, 2008

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.

Container Shifters To Get Bloody Knuckles For Napoli Grounding?

April 16, 2008

Whatever the details of the UK’s Maritime Accident Investigation Branch report on the 18th January 2007 structural failure and grounding of the MSC Napoli, scheduled for release on 22nd April, the container industry can expect to be walking around with painfully rapped knuckles for sometime afterwards. The size of the investigation and the importance that the MAIB places on it can be judged by the fact that 8m euro, around $13m, is understood to have been spent on computer simulation alone.

Last September saw the first shot across the industry’s bows with the release of the MAIB’s report on the February 2007 Annabella incident in the Baltic in which several containers in a stack collapsed during heavy weather with damage to three containers carrying a hazardous cargo, butylene gas. The usually restrained MAIB forcefully called for a code of practice for the industry to prevent further disasters: “(Napoli and Annabella) identify a compelling need for a code of practice for the container shipping industry”.

That call is likely to be reiterated with even greater force in the Napoli report itself. Early this year a MAIB official told MAC: “The investigation has been complex and has required in-depth research in several areas including the vessel’s structure and container vessel operation.”

These incidents are far from new. MAIB itself investigated similar issues surrounding a stack collapse, and leakage of a tank of hazardous material, in 2001. In 2006 at least 300 containers were lost in a half dozen incident in European waters and some estimated put the worldwide level of losses at 10,000 teu.

It is expected that the report will, in part, focus on how the speed of container operations has outstripped the speed of communications between the various parts of the transport chain, leading to the loss of control of stacking operations due to poor information flow between shippers, planners, the loading terminal and the ship itself arising from the ‘need for speed’.

Container accidents are expensive. According to the North of England P&I Club, of 16 cargo claims in 2007/2007 only two involved containers but those two accounted for 30 per cent of the $1m losses. Many of the increasing number of container-related claims occur in heavy weather. “Container losses and collapsed stows in heavy weather continue to occur,” says the club’s head of loss-prevention Tony Baker. ‘Such weather is not altogether unexpected and it has highlighted a number of areas of poor practice that need to be rectified if the industry is to keep a lid on spiralling claims costs.”

Baker says there are four principal factors behind recent incidents: failure of automatic twist-locks in lashing systems; failure to stow and secure containers in accordance with the ship’s cargo securing manual; mis-declared overweight containers; and failure to anticipate and minimise the effect of heavy weather.

Another issue that may be explored in the MAIB report is the lack of knowledge about the dynamic forces affecting container lashing systems. There has been little study of how the real-world compares to computer models and how they are affected by ship design. Marin, the Netherlands Maritime Institute, has a two-year ongoing study, Lashings@Sea, supported by eight ship owners, three lashing suppliers, three class societies and the Dutch Department of Transport.

At the moment, is seems, nobody really knows quite what’s going on when heavy seas and containerships get together at a time when the pressure is on to reduce lashing to cut turnaround times and costs.

Of concern also is that the rise in container accidents appears to parallel the introduction of fully automated locks, International Standards Organisation standards have not kept pace with the development of FAL systems, and destandardisation of container sizes have added more complexity to the mix.

Of course, the real question isn’t what the MAIB will say, it will certainly run along the lines of “get your act together”. The real question is whether anyone will be listening.

MAIB hits container dangers

Container Crunch Too Much

Odd Story – How Napoleonic Shipbuilders And Zulu Bible Thumpers Gave Somerset Cider the Napoli Spirit

Maritime Safety News Today – 15th March 2008

March 15, 2008

RIVERDANCE is sinking – and so today were hopes of saving her.

The stricken ferry has taken a terrible beating from massive waves whipped up by this week’s 85mph hurricane-force winds.

She is now listing at 100 degrees and sinking into the soft sand on the beach at Anchorsholme.

Runaway ship can sail no more
Sun.Star – Philippines
The ship immediately sailed for Cagayan de Oro after the accident at 11 pm Monday in Cebu. The ship was towed by the Philippine Coast Guard, which brought 

Could take weeks to remove ship stuck in St. Lawrence
CBC Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia,Canada
“We don’t want the crane to take a container and, by accident, a container falls in the water.” The Panama-based firm that owns the boat has to draft a 

Missing ship MV Rezzak sank: DG shipping
Hindustan Times – India
PTI The Directorate General of Shipping on Friday ruled out that the missing vessel MV Rezzak was a victim of an act of piracy and said it was likely the 

Maritime Global Net – Warren,RI,USA
The International Transport Workers’ Federation says it has come to the rescue of 22 seafarers working on the 1991-built, Panama-flag general cargo ship

Maritime Safety News Today – 11th March 2008

March 12, 2008

Three dead, one missing in SW China boat crash
Xinhua – China
The accident happened on the Wu River in Changshou District at 8 pm when a passenger ship from the suburban Fuling District crashed with the cargo ship 

Boat slams bridge
Sun.Star – Philippines
The head of the Mandaue City 701st Maritime Station, Chief Insp. Greg Togonon, said the accident was recorded in their blotter.

Late-winter storm in northwest of France beaches a Dutch cargo
Web in France Magazine – Miami,USA
The Dutch cargo liner was sailing empty, and so luckily the accident caused no pollution, according to the French maritime prefecture of the Atlantic.

USS John S. McCain Rescues ROK Fishing Vessel Crew Members
Posted 03/11/08 at 10:22 AM

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) assisted in the rescue of 11 crew members of a Republic of Korea (ROK) fishing vessel off the Korean Peninsula, March

Crew kin send SOS to Sonia
Daily News & Analysis – Mumbai,India
The families of missing crew of MV Rezzak, on Monday, demanded a CBI inquiry into the ship’s disappearance. They have written a letter to Congress president 

Crewing becoming ever more serious issue says broker
Offshore Shipping Online – Ledbury,England,UK
“With the Bourbon Dolphin report due out at the beginning of April, there is no doubt that safety offshore will be receiving close scrutiny over the coming

Marine pilots, tugs to rescue when ship breaks free
Mackay Daily Mercury – Australia
Maritime Safety Queensland Pilotage Services, Mackay, has been commended for its handling of the emergency. Strong northerly winds snapped mooring lines on 

Maritime Global Net – Warren,RI,USA
THE European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is launching a new procurement procedure for stand-by oil spill recovery vessels in the Black Sea and North Sea 

Ship owners must pay – lawsuit
Legalbrief (subscription) – Durban,South Africa
was part of an early settlement reached in a lawsuit his office filed against Regal Stone Ltd. of Hong Kong, which owns the Cosco Busan container ship. 

Start of Napoli grounding inquiry
Dorset Echo – England,UK
AN INQUIRY into the grounding of the MSC Napoli off the world heritage coast was launched yesterday at Branscombe, near where the storm-damaged ship was

Global Warming to Affect Transport
The Associated Press
The resulting lower water levels would reduce vessel shipping capacity, seriously impairing freight movements in the region, such as occurred during the .

Maritime Safety News Today – 7th March 2008

March 7, 2008
Vietnam tanker sinks, 14 missing
BBC News – UK
maritime authorities have said. One seaman was rescued at the time of the accident on Sunday, but most of the crew were trapped in the hull,
One dead, three missing in ship collision: Japan
TOKYO (AFP) — Three vessels collided Wednesday in a strait in western Japan killing one Filipino crew member and leaving three others missing when their

16 dead in Albanian boat tragedy
B92 – Serbia
The authorities think the ship capsized and sank because it was overloaded. Four passengers survived the accident, said Katragini. .

Officials Provide Update On Grounded Oil Tanker
The Bahama Journal – Nassau,Bahamas
By Sasha L. Lightbourne The government will not incur any costs as a result of the grounding of an oil tanker off the west coast of New Providence,

Oil tanker towed to dock after SOS call
Middle East North Africa Financial Network – Amman,Jordan
The ship, which reported engine failure about 200 kilometers from the port, arrived back at the port yesterday, officials told Arab News.

Ill-fated trawler lodged on reef
Northern Advocate – Whangarei,New Zealand
“It’s still too early to determine what the cause of the grounding was, and we’ll be making no further comment on the incident until inquiries are complete

Wednesday, March 5th 2008
Virgin Islands Daily News – U.S. Virgin Islands
The National Park Service expects to complete its investigation into the grounding and coral damage during the next two months, VI National Park chief

Relations of victims of ill-fated passenger boat besiege Yenagoa
Vanguard – Apapa,Lagos,Nigeria
The maritime union leader Comrade Sylvanus Egele confirmed the incident , but said only five bodies have been discovered, that is, two ladies,

Fishing boat saved from sinking off Hawke’s Bay coast
All About Hawke’s Bay – Napier,Hawke’s Bay,New Zealand
The skipper of the Thelma G radioed for assistance just after noon saying the vessel was taking on water. The boat was about 15km south west from Portland

Crane crash terminal still out of action
East Anglian Daily Times – Ipswich,England,UK
Cranes on board then smashed into one of the ship-to-shore cranes at Landguard, which then toppled into the next crane, bringing them both smashing down.

Islands mourn loss of chief
Queen Charlotte Islands Observer – Queen Charlotte,British Columbia,Canada
Sandspit Coast Guard reported a vessel sinking in the QC harbour, after hearing radio traffic to that effect, according to Mike Stacey, maritime search and

Posted 03/05/08 at 10:21 AM

The US Coast Guard posted guidance on the inspection, repair, and maintenance of liftboats. As the guidance points out, for many purposes, liftboats are treated by the Coast Guard like conventional hulled offshore supply vessels (OSVs).

Donjon Marine Tows Disabled LNG Carrier

Posted 03/06/08 at 10:29 AM

Donjon Marine Co., Inc. provided the 7000hp salvage tug Atlantic Salvor to assist the (LNG) tanker Catalunya Spirit, which lost propulsion and became disabled and adrift East of Cape Cod in February. On February 12, 2008, Donjon Marine, Co…

Start of Napoli grounding inquiry
Dorset Echo – England,UK
The inquiry comes before work begins in April to remove the final section of the vessel, the stern, from the sea off Sidmouth. The grounding of the

US overturns shipper haz liability

NEW YORK 6 March – OCEAN carriers who sustain losses resulting from dangerous cargoes no longer enjoy a virtual guarantee that shippers of the cargo will be held liable for their losses. A 3 March ruling by the US Appeals Court for the Second District, struck down the “strict liability” standard of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) where the carrier is aware that a cargo is inherently dangerous. In a communiqué to its clients, the Blank Rome law firm warns that “Where the carrier is generally aware of the hazardous nature of cargo, even if it is not aware of the precise nature of the risk, and the carrier nevertheless exposes it to potentially dangerous conditions, it will not be able to rely on the strict liability provisions of COGSA but will be required to show that the shipper acted negligently with respect to the cargo and/or its obligation to warn the carrier of the specific nature of the cargo’s risks== 2E” The change came as the appellate court reversed a lower court ruling that held PPG Industries fully liable for the loss of the DG Harmony, which caught fire off Brazil in November 2007 after one of ten containers packed with calcium hypochlorite (hydrated) (“calhypo”) exploded. The lower court held PPG fully liable under the “strict liability standard” but the appeals court that “a shipper cannot be held strictly liable for damage caused during the shipment of hazardous cargo in circumstances where the carrier was generally aware that the cargo’s dangerous nature requires careful handling or stowage.” The case has been returned to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York “to make findings on the issue of whether an adequate warning would have affected how the carrier stowed the calhypo.”

Maritime Safety News – 26th February 2008

February 27, 2008
At least 11 missing in boat mishaps off Chinese coast – Bangkok,Bangkok,Thailand
Hangzhou (China), Feb 25 (Xinhua) Chinese maritime rescue service officials are searching for at least 11 seamen who have been missing off the east coast 
Leylon Sneed Runs Aground at Trunk Bay Reef
St. John Tradewinds – St. John,U.S. Virgin Islands
The Leylon Sneed drifted aground at the Trunk Bay reef near Jumbie Beach on Tuesday afternoon, February 19, as the vessel was loading up cruise ship

Ship crews face high degree of fatigue at sea’
Daily News & Analysis – Mumbai,India
Every-time there is an accident (now mv Rezzak has gone missing off the Turkish coast) on the high seas, there are theories about how high-stress levels 
Coast Guard on Alert for Toxic Ship
Posted 02/26/08 at 09:46 AM

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency are on alert for the possible arrival of the contaminated cruise liner, SS Independence, which is reportedly heading to Guam after being refused entry in Hawaii, The Variety reported..

USCG Sets Conditions Indonesia Ships
Posted 02/26/08 at 08:35 AM

The US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that, effective March 10, it will impose conditions of entry on vessels arriving from Indonesia. With the exception of vessels arriving from certain named ports, any vessel arriving in the United States that called in Indonesia during its previous five port calls must demonstrate the following: (1) that..

UN maritime agency endorses campaign for fair treatment of seafarers
UN News Centre –
necessary measures should be taken to ensure that seafarers are treated fairly when detained by public authorities in the event of a maritime accident. .

Port workers threaten India strike
One-day protest in March will press for wage improvements, other demands.

New code for accident investigation
Safety at Sea – London,England,UK
LONDON 26 February – An IMO Marine Casualty Investigation Code will be “a major change in the maritime sector” predicts Brice Martin-Castex, 

Maritime Safety News Today -14th February 2008

February 15, 2008


At 17.50 this evening Clyde Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) received a call from Estuary Control reporting that a cargo vessel the Minerva 2 had lost engine power in the River Clyde.

Monterey Bay science vessel runs into rocks in Mexico
Monterey County Herald – Monterey,CA,USA
Damage to the ship is still being evaluated, but McNutt said the accident caused the loss of “probably a half year of science.” “It’s too bad — all the work 

Chesapeake Bay – tank barge grounds

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that a tank barge grounded while transiting the Nanticoke River in Maryland.  There were no injuries and no pollution has been reported from the double-hull tank barge.  A salvage plan is being developed.  The incident is under investigation.

New Orleans – drifting freight ship results in difficulties

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that a freight ship broke from its moorings at a wharf just downriver from New Orleans.  Before being brought under control, the ship allided with several other vessels and barges.  The incident is under investigation.

Navy Cargo Ship Assists at-Sea Rescue
Posted 02/13/08 at 12:10 PM

Military Sealift Command large, medium-speed, RoRo ship USNS Seay conducted an at-sea rescue operation February 9 in the Straits of Gibraltar. At 12:50 a.m. the 950-ft. military cargo ship was notified by the Tarifa Rescue Coordination Center in Tarifa, Spain, that a small craft in their vicinity had issued a distress signal and needed assistance..

Bad weather delays trawler probe
BBC News – UK
A contract to remove the Spinningdale is in the process of being signed, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said. Fish, bait, fuel and oil on the boat 

Tornado damages Bahamas box hub A severe thunderstorm spawned a tornado that severely damaged the container terminal at the Freeport Container Port, Bahamas.

Maritime Global Net – Warren,RI,USA
PROMPTED by the prosecution of the Hebei Spirit’s master and mate, shipmanagers’ trade association InterManager,has thrown its weight behind the call for 

NS MP: Allow access to seafarers – Halifax,Nova Scotia,Canada
By TOM PETERS Business Reporter A Nova Scotia MP wants Ottawa to ensure unfettered access by a seafarer’s advocate to vessels flying flags of convenience to

Press Information Bureau (press release) – New Delhi,India
It enables the maritime forces to seize ships or aircraft involved in piracy and armed robbery besides information sharing, capacity building and