By MarEx 2015-07-30 00:03:32
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released its report into the collision between the container ship Kota Wajar and the yacht July last year, stating that neither vessel was maintaining a proper lookout at the time.
At about 0419 on July 6, 2014, in clear visibility, the container ship collided with the yacht Blazing Keel in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. The ship was southbound in the shipping channel while the yacht was crossing the channel in a southwest direction.
The yacht suffered extensive collision damage but its watertight integrity was maintained. The two people on board were not injured and the yacht safely returned to its marina.
The ATSB found that no one on board either Kota Wajar or Blazing Keel saw or otherwise detected the other vessel before the collision. Neither vessel had maintained a proper lookout in accordance with COLREGS.
The investigation found that Kota Wajar’s safety management system procedures requiring a dedicated lookout were not effectively implemented and a lookout was not posted. In addition, radar was not appropriately used. The high workload of the ship’s bridge team and local conditions, such as background lights ashore, were factors in not detecting the yacht.
The investigation identified that the visual lookout kept by Blazing Keel’s crew was ineffective. Furthermore, the yacht’s night passage was undertaken without radar (which had been inoperable for 18 months).
It was also found that Brisbane Marine Pilots’ standard passage plan and master-pilot exchange does not ensure that the ship’s bridge team is provided adequate information with respect to local traffic and areas where attention should be paid to small craft.
Kota Wajar’s managers, Pacific International Lines, Singapore, have advised the ATSB that action to better implement safety procedures with regard to posting a lookout was being taken.
Brisbane Marine Pilots has advised the ATSB that its standard passage plan has been amended to clarify responsibility for maintaining a good lookout by sight and radar. Bridge team engagement and communicating small craft interaction will be emphasized through the master-pilot-bridge team exchange. The pilotage company has also decided to review and amend its pre-arrival information for masters to emphasize the small vessel interaction risk.
In response to the continuing safety issue around maintaining an effective and proper lookout when navigating in Australian waters, the ATSB has issued a safety advisory notice to the masters, owners, operators and skippers of all vessels.
Over the past 26 years, investigations into 41 collisions between trading ships and small vessels on the Australian coast have identified that maintaining a proper lookout, using all available means in accordance with the COLREGS, is paramount to preventing collisions.
The report is available here.