MAIB Safety Digest April 2022 published

MAIB Safety Digest April 2022 has been published
MAIB Safety Digest April 2022 has been published

The MAIB Safety Digest April 2022 features 25 case studies and draws the attention of the marine community to some of the lessons arising from investigations into recent accidents and incidents. It contains information that has been determined up to the time of issue.

This information is published to inform the merchant and fishing industries, the recreational craft community and the public of the general circumstances of marine accidents and to draw out the lessons to be learned. The sole purpose of the MAIB Safety Digest April 2022 is to prevent similar accidents happening again.

In his introduction, Chief Inspector of Accidents, Andrew Moll, says, “I would like to start by thanking Bob Baker, Pete Dadds and Pip Hare for their introductions to the merchant, fishing and recreational sections of this MAIB Safety Digest April 2022. They each have a wealth of experience in their respective fields, and their introductions are very thought-provoking. If nothing else, please read their articles. That said, I hope you will read much more than that. There is a cautionary tale here for everyone, and when you have finished reading the digest please pass it on so others can benefit too.

Bob Baker asks the questions, Why did the officer of the watch switch off guard alarms on radars/ECDIS? And why is failure of the bridge team and poor communications such a fundamental issue and the most frequent cause of incidents in coastal/port waters? He goes on to talk about the need for a cultural change in the way we embrace safety and in our approach to understanding why accidents happen. I could not agree with him more. Like Bob, I started bridge watchkeeping in the pre-digital age. Satellite navigation was in its infancy, radars were unreliable, ARPA did not exist, and the ship’s position was plotted and projected ahead on a paper chart. In coastal waters, watches were busy, sometimes hectic, and if the watchkeeper did not collect and assimilate the necessary information, they would not know what was happening around them. Compare this to the modern bridge where all that manual work is being done automatically, and all the watchkeeper needs to do is look at the screens (and out of the window!) to see what is going on. Watches have ceased to be as stimulating and occupying as they were, but the watchkeeper still keeps a 4 or 6-hour stint on the bridge. The frequency of accidents that have occurred when a watchkeeper has decided to keep alert or awake by occupying themselves with their mobile phone, tablet or PC seems to be on the rise, probably because they are insufficiently engaged by their duties. I would therefore add to Bob’s call for a cultural change to safety and say that the role of the human in the digital workplace needs a serious rethink; if we don’t, it is us that will be asleep at the wheel.

Few people have the courage to tell a “When I…” story as powerful as Pete Dadds’ account of his capsize, and I am grateful that he shared his experience with us. The first thing that stands out for me is the old saying, “Never turn your back on the sea”, because it always has the capacity to be unpredictable. The second is that Pete and his crew were wearing PFDs and so were able both to survive the initial shock of immersion in cold water and stay afloat long enough to be rescued. I think the message about wearing PFDs when on the working deck is slowly getting around. However, too many of MAIB’s customers were unfortunately not wearing a PFD when they entered the water, with often tragic results. Pete’s story shows that it is possible to survive going over the side, but to do so you need to be wearing a PFD.

Pip Hare writes about the risks of being a single-handed round the world sailor, about mitigating the foreseeable risks in advance, and being ready to change her plans in the face of changing circumstances. At MAIB we often talk about safety margins, and how easily these are eroded. Going a bit fast in poor visibility, rushing a maintenance task, loading more catch than is safe, staying out for one more haul in deteriorating weather, show-boating (in all its forms); it is all too easy to erode the safety margins.”

Andrew Moll
Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents

Download the digest: MAIB April 2022 Safety Digest

The MAIB Safety Digest April 2022 is edited by Clare Hughes.

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