On February 19, 2019, the Cypriot-flagged cargo ship RABA, sailing from Copenhagen to Szczecin, collided with the Danish-flagged ‘World Bora’, which was sailing towards the Viking wind farm in the Exclusive Economic Zone. Consequently, the Danish Marine Accident Investigation Board has published an accident report to determine the factors that caused the collision.
The master of RABA was responsible for observing the traffic onboard the vessel and did not identify any ships as a risk of collision. On the starboard side, the other vessel World Bora was seen crossing RABA’s course but wasn’t considered as a danger that could cause a collision. Thus, the master didn’t pay closer attention. However, during his watch, he got preoccupied with other duties and lost track of time, resulting in him not following up with the crossing vessel he previously saw.
In the meantime, although the AB was conducting lookout duties, he didn’t inform the master of the close quarter situation until a few minutes before the collision. It is likely that the AB did not realise the risk of collision, because he was not trained in detecting the risk of collision by means of visual bearing alone the report highlights.
Moreover, the AB was not aware of the serious danger, until he saw World Bora rapidly approaching the ship. Once the master observed the vessel, the collision could only be avoided by immediately turning the ship. For the time being, it remains unclear why the master opted to contact the World Bora instead of turning the vessel away.
The report states that it is most likely that because of the situation, the short time the master had to react, along with his lack in knowing how to deal with the equipment may be the factors that caused him to contact the wrong vessel in his attempts to avoid collision.
The report presents the factors that are most likely to have caused the collision between the two vessels.
The underlying reason why the master forgot to follow up on the traffic was his preoccupation with the activities he was engaged in while keeping navigational watch. These activities were related to his function as watchkeeping officer and master of the ship.
The master had recently signed on the ship, which made it necessary for him to familiarise himself with the bridge, the crew and the work tasks. The watchkeeping schedule necessitated this work practice which was facilitated by the layout of the bridge.
From the World Bora’s perspective, the master never observed RABA approaching, which is why he thought it was safe to smoke and conduct administrative work while sporadically keeping a visual lookout. The master was focused on computer work and lost track of time, which resulted in RABA not being observed prior to the collision.
Given that World Bora was operated as a conventional cargo ship and not as an HSC. Therefore, there was no additional person on the bridge to keep lookout, and the approaching RABA therefore went unnoticed while the master sat by the desk using the computer.
DMAIB comments that, based on other investigations, watchkeeping is intertwined with other tasks than navigating the ship and keeping lookout. Even though these work practises are common and normally not an issue, they became critical when the watchkeeping officers on RABA and World Bora were simultaneously in their activities when the ships were on a collision course.
World Marine Offshore has introduced preventive actions in different areas. The actions are as follows:
– Seatbelts were installed in World Bora but after the incident seatbelts have now been installed on all other vessels.
– An aviation approach to seatbelts is utilized. During the whole transit the industrial personnel must be seated.
– Crew members highlighted that they should ensure that the signal lights in the passenger area are respected (red/green) by all industrial personnel. And that the area must be more frequently monitored.
– Updated safety video concerning seatbelts on all vessels.
– The Master’s Standing Orders Form has been revised to state clearly that if the Duty Officer in any case or time needs to move from the Pilot chair, he must call for a lookout to come on the bridge. A lookout is also required during transit to and from the Windfarm.
– A new Procedure for Industrial Personnel (IP) check-in has been implemented to ensure that the IP’s have seen the Safety video, have fastened their seat belts during the voyage – transit and transfer and have signed the sign-in log.
– A new Bridge watch procedure has been implemented.
– The Bridge Watch handover check list and Pre-departure check list have been updated.
– A Safety Flash on proper use of the radar ARPA functions has been issued and sent to all vessels.
Click to read download the full report: DMAIB-World-Bora-Raba-2020_01