The UK government has highlighted the importance of keeping high standards of watchkeeping following a report into a ship collision. The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said high standards of bridge operations should include using radar and Automatic Identification System (AIS) information to identify dangers to navigation.
The recommendations come in a report into the collision of general cargo ship Daroja and bunker barge Erin Wood east of Peterhead, Scotland. The accident occurred on 29 August 2015 in daylight and good visibility, and the MAIB report was published on 22 December 2016. Erin Wood, which was managed by Northern Oils, was badly damaged and its crew put in danger due to the collision. There was also some minor pollution from leaking fuel cargo.
The MAIB said the accident happened because a proper lookout was not being kept on either vessel. This meant that watchkeepers in both vessels were unaware of the risk of collision and took no action to avoid the other ship.
Similar to previous MAIB investigations, this accident highlighted the potential consequences of using only one officer of the watch on ships and not using bridge navigational aids effectively. The MAIB said the use of radar, visual and AIS information could have been used more effectively on both ships to prevent the accident
Since the accident, Daroja’s managing company United Shipping Companies Barnkrug has reviewed its safety management system and made a series of changes to improve bridge watchkeeping standards. Northern Oils has temporarily ceased transportation of fuel products by sea.
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