Safer Seas Digest 2021 published by NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has published its 96 page Safer Seas Digest 2021, highlighting the most important lessons learned from 31 maritime tragedies that took place over the course of last year including capsizings, contact, collisions, fires, flooding and groundings.

Among the key investigations included in the report are the sinking of Scandies Rose, where five lives were lost, and the capsizing of Golden Ray, one of the most expensive marine accidents in history.

In brief, some of the key lessons learned from the Safety Digest are:

1 Vessel Stability
A vessel’s stability instructions must be accurate, and the crew must use the instructions correctly when determining stability to ensure a vessel is loaded such that it meets the stability criteria intended by the vessel designers and approved by regulators.

2 Containing Engine Room Fires
Engine rooms contain multiple fuel sources and are especially vulnerable to rapidly spreading fires. Following the initiation of an engine room fire, it is imperative to remove the source(s) of available fuel to a fire. Designers and operators should evaluate fire hazards and provide effective means to mitigate them.

3 Icing and Severe Weather
Severe weather can create challenging conditions, including strong currents and high winds and seas. In cold weather climates, wave-generated sea spray can cause icing, which can severely affect the stability of a vessel.

4 Risk Management and Project Planning
A formal risk assessment, which involves identifying hazards and estimating the risk they pose, is a critical component of casualty prevention. By considering the likelihood and severity of each risk, risk matrices increase the visibility of risks and help managers select controls commensurate with the risk level. With such information, a hazard control plan can be developed and implemented.

5 Cargo Preparation and Securement
It is important for cargo planners to have tools and procedures, such as stow plans, calculations, and preparation instruction, to assist with determining proper stowage and the sufficiency of securing arrangements for cargo loaded aboard vessels. These tools and procedures must consider the type of cargo and the design of the vessel, as well as the potential hazards presented by the cargo.

6 Teamwork
Safe and effective operations are not one person’s job. Teamwork is an essential defense against human error, and a good team should anticipate dangerous situations and recognize the development of an error chain. If in doubt, team members should speak up or notify a higher authority

7 Identifying Navigational Hazards
Situational awareness demands a mariner should be alert for new hazards that can appear along their intended route. It is important to check the Coast Pilot and navigational charts when developing voyage plans to improve knowledge of an area and prepare for a safe passage

8 Continuous Monitoring of Unmanned Vessels
To protect personnel, property, and the environment, it is good marine practice for owners, operators, and shipyard managers to coordinate and implement some form of continuous monitoring for vessels undergoing maintenance in a shipyard, in lay-up, or in some other inactive period without regular crews aboard.

Download the 96 page digest: Safer Seas Digest 2021

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