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Fos ter i ng Saf et y Exce l l ence & Sus ta i nab l e Sh i pp i ng

S A F E T Y 4 S E A We e k l y F l a s h M a i l 2 0 1 5 - 4 4


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A bulk carrier (A) collided with another bulk carrier (B) while dragging its anchor in strong winds. The two

ships were anchored at an exposed off shore anchorage. During the morning in question, a southerly

weather front came through the anchorage – changing the wind direction from off- to onshore. At 0900, the

OOW on board vessel A noticed that the ship was dragging the anchor. The master was informed and he

decided to weigh anchor and depart the anchorage at 0913. However, vessel A’s crew encountered

difficulties in weighing anchor. During the anchor retrieval process the vessel drifted towards vessel B, which

was anchored to the north. At 0935 vessel A pitched heavily, resulting in the propeller coming clear of the

water and the main engine being shut down by the overspeed trip. Vessel A’s main engine was restarted;

however, it was too late to avoid a collision and at 0939 the vessel collided with vessel B. The two ships

moved apart and then made contact a second time before vessel A finally made its way clear of the other


Root Causes

- The ships in the anchorage were anchored too close to each other.

- Vessel A’s OOW did not use all available means while keeping anchor watch. This lead to him failing to

identify the change in the ship’s position until 40 minutes after the ship had begun to drag its anchor. The

decision to leave the anchorage therefore came too late.

- Vessel A’s master did not increase the scope of cable laid out, either prior to or on the day of the incident

despite the weather reports and the changing weather conditions at the anchorage

Preventive Actions

- A good anchor watch should always be maintained and main engines should always be available for use

when at exposed anchorages. Weather conditions may deteriorate at short notice.

- Regular position checks using all available means including visual aids, GPS, ECDIS and radar

- Weather forecast monitoring

- Establish Communication watch and registration of information received from shore

- Know the load limitations of the anchoring equipment

- In the event that rapidly deteriorating weather is forecast, the Master must make timely decisions whether

to: take on heavy weather ballast before conditions deteriorate, deploy an extra anchor, pay out more anchor

cable, weigh anchor and depart the anchorage, slip the anchor cable if necessary, call for tug assistance,

monitor the situation and let the vessel drag in a controlled manner through the anchorage

E. RISK ASSESSMENT OF THE WEEK: Anchoring and Anchor watch

Risk Assessment Conditions

- Work has been authorized

- Staff is adequately rested

- Staff uses appropriate PPE

- Staff is experienced

Hazard Identification

- Incorrect anchoring plan

- Insufficient anchor watch / anchor dragging

- Failure of anchoring equipment

- Communication Failure between Bridge and Engine

- Incompetent personnel to perform

- Navigational Instrument / Equipment Failure

- Improper movements-actions from adjacent ships

- Piracy - Robbery

- Anchoring at high depth

Control measures

- SAFE speed, Navigation procedures / policy, Bridge team management, pre-planning, emergency