NEWS Lessons Learned: Effective Access Monitoring Can Reduce the Likelihood of Accidents

Lessons Learned: Effective Access Monitoring Can Reduce the Likelihood of Accidents

According to the UK MAIB, a cargo ship ran aground on a stone training wall with severe damage to the bottom of the hull and severe flooding of the engine room and ballast tanks.


One The local navigator boarded a cargo ship to steer it into port and took over the helmsman after a brief handover with the captain. Pilots need to time their approach to the approach channel so that there is sufficient water under the keel and water depth above the berth at high tide.

Bounded on each side of the channel by stone training walls, the tidal currents from the river are concentrated to help keep the channel open.

Due to the wide tidal range, the training wall is visible at low tide but submerged at favorable navigational tides and is marked with beacons along its length.

Fifteen minutes after the navigator was on board, the ship entered channel in the afternoon. He sailed slowly along the starboard side of the fairway, waiting for the tide to rise.

Wind and high tide pushed the boat across the channel, further to starboard and over the top of the training wall.

About 10 minutes later, the ship ran aground on the eastern training wall, causing significant damage to the bottom of the hull and causing extensive flooding of the engine room and ballast tanks.

The ship refloated and eventually sailed to a safe harbor before heading to the shipyard for repairs.

possible reason

Although the master and chief mate (C/O) were on the bridge, they were not actively involved in the navigation of the ship.

Neither electronic chart systems nor radar are used adequately by the navigator or crew to monitor the vessel’s position during piloting.

The ship’s crew made a voyage plan using charts and navigational guidelines, but did not include details about reaching the pilotage area, approach channel and river, or any potential hazards.

In addition, upon boarding the ship, the pilot did not provide the master with a detailed pilotage plan, and there was little verbal exchange of information.

Learn a lesson

  • plan: The preparation of a detailed port entry plan highlights local hazards and optimum tidal conditions. Without visibility of the prepared pilot plan during the master and pilot communication, the master and his team cannot effectively monitor the execution of the inbound pilot. Effective planning, communication and channel monitoring can reduce the likelihood and incidence of accidents in coastal and pilotage waters.
  • comminicate: The pilot provides the captain and his team with up-to-date local information. It is important that the bridge team engages with the pilot through effective master and pilot communication and that the navigation of the ship is not left to the pilot.
  • equipment: Electronic navigation aids should be properly set up and used to enhance navigation safety, especially in high-risk operation scenarios such as coastal waterways and port entry.

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