Drank rum, lost situational awareness, ship grounded

It comes from the U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch and concerns the grounding of a vessel in which, according to the full report, “the inventory of the vessel’s bonded store records that it was regularly replenished with spirits, wine and beer, and evidence of significant alcohol consumption by the crew should have alerted the owner to the likelihood that its alcohol policy was not being observed.”

The full report also notes that “during the evening, while off duty in his cabin, the chief officer made a private telephone call which caused him anxiety, after which he consumed about 0.5 liter of rum.”

Here’s the summary:

On February 18, 2015, while on passage from Belfast to Skogn, Norway the general cargo vessel Lysblink Seaways [owned by DFDS] ran aground at full speed, near Kilchoan, Ardnamurchan peninsula, West Scotland.

The vessel remained on the rocky foreshore for almost two days during adverse weather. This resulted in material damage to its hull and the double bottom was breached, including some fuel tanks, resulting in 25 tonnes of marine gas oil entering the water. After the salvage the vessel was declared a constructive total loss and scrapped

The MAIB investigation found that [the chief officer, who was] the officer of the watch (OOW) – who was the sole watchkeeper – had become inattentive due to the effects of alcohol consumption. The bridge navigational watch alarm system (BNWAS) had not been switched on and an off-track alarm on the Electronic Chart System (ECS) had been silenced. Although a radar watch alarm had sounded every six minutes, the OOW was able to reset the alarm without leaving his chair.

Safety Issues

    • The OOW lost situational awareness while under the influence of alcohol.
    • A lookout on the bridge would have been well placed to alert the master to the OOW’s condition and that navigational waypoints had been missed.
    • Had the BNWAS been switched on it is probable that the OOW would have realised at an earlier stage that a navigation waypoint had been missed.
    • It is unlikely that the vessel would have ended up hard aground had the preparation of an appropriate and detailed passage plan been agreed and entered into the ECS. Available safety features would then have been available with alarms to alert the OOW.
    • The owner’s zero alcohol policy had not been effectively implemented in accordance with the safety management system (SMS) despite regular audits.
    • Shortcomings, identified in an earlier MAIB report, regarding the Lys Line safety culture were still prevalent on Lysblink Seaways, despite a change of ownership.Actions taken
    • The vessel’s owner, DFDS A/S, has taken action to enhance compliance with the SMS on sister vessels, with particular emphasis on control of alcohol consumption and bridge resource management.
    • In view of the actions already taken, no recommendations have been made.

Download the full report HERE