PREVIEW

Contact/FFO

Contact/FFO

Problem

Damage caused by vessel coming into direct contact with, for example, a dock, pier, jetty, buoy or crane, or the damage caused by the vessel's wash. In many instances the loss of use claim from the harbour is in excess of the repair cost for the actual contact damage.

Shore gantry cranes are built for horisontal loads and will easily be severely damaged by a vertical impact. Cost of repairs to shore gantry cranes are very high.

Facts and Findings

Contact/FFO damages are, in our exprerience, mostly caused by:

  • adverse weather conditions during berthing/unberthing,

  • improper judgement by master or pilot,

  • improper speed,

  • insufficient tug assistance and/or machinery failure.

Preventive measures

  • The crew must understand the importance of adherence to the bridge management procedures.

  • Assess the prevailing conditions, berth restrictions and any other limitations before entering or leaving port.

  • The master is in command of the ship at all times and may delegate the conduct of the ship to a pilot if he finds him experienced and competent. The master should not hesitate to supervise, question or overrule the pilot's decision if any indications of problems arise.

  • Master and pilot should agree on a berthing plan, tug assistance and language to be used between ship, pilot, tugs and shore.

  • The pilot should be presented a completed pilot-card. The vessels manoeuvring characteristics should also be communicated.

  • When entering or leaving berth special attention to shore gantry cranes must be taken to ensure that they are not hit by for example vessels flare or mast.

  • Damage to light buoys and other navigational aids must be reported immediately so that other ships are not put in danger.

 

 

There have been 330 contact casualties, which have incurred 
a cost of over USD 10,000 each with an average cost of more 
than USD 270,000 for all vessel types.

 

H&M contact: Number of claims and category

 

H&M contact: Pilot onboard

H&M contact: Number of claims and category, individual factors

 

H&M contact: Claim cost & frequency as per insured vessel

 

 

 

 

 

H&M contact: Average claim cost & frequency 2004-2013

 

H&M contact: Claim cost & frequency as per insured vessel

 

 

 Contact cases 

 When a vessel makes heavy contact with stationary objects such as its berth, the causes of such incidents are generally similar to the causes of vessel collisions. Investigation uncovers poor communication, incomplete risk analysis, a loss of situational analysis, and a lack of assertiveness from less senior members of the crew.

 Synopsis one: 

 Vessel A made contact with vessel B while berthing. The engine did not respond to the Master’s command, as there was low air reservoir pressure. The Master had many years experience but had not commanded a large vessel like this and this was his first contract with the company. A pilot advised the Master while berthing. While berthing there was only 15m of clearance to the other vessels. This concerned the Master but he did not stop. During a ship handling course a trainer had said that it would be good for the Master to get some more ship handling training. This was not provided.

 Causes:

 Do not take risks, if you feel unsure stop and further analyse the situation until you are comfortable. If you rely completely on the pilot and do not acknowledge the feeling that this is not the best action or even unsafe, then stop and assess the situation. This might cause a slight delay but this is something that has to be done when there is a real risk of the vessel hitting the quay or another vessel. It is important that the Master manages to explain to the pilot and manager that they have to stop until the Master is happy to proceed. It is a tough decision, but one that has to be taken. If it is noticed that training is required it is essential that the required training is given. Otherwise accidents like this can happen. The Master was not used to this kind of vessel and the manager had noticed this, but the correct actions were not taken.

 Synopsis two: 

 It was night and the pilot boarded. Two tugs were connected to vessel A, one on the bow and one on the stern. The engine had been tested before the pilot boarded and the pre-arrival checks had been completed. The pilot had been given the pilot card. The vessel was scheduled to berth starboard side. In order to effect this turn the vessel was required to carry out a 180 degree turn to port. The vessel lined up and started to turn, suddenly the main engine failed to respond to an astern order. Several repeated orders, from slow astern to full astern, were commanded from the bridge telegraph but with no response. The Chief Engineer was operating the telegraph on the bridge at this time and he attempted to transfer control to the engine control room and engine side. However, this was not completed before the vessel made contact with a moored tug. The tug was seriously damaged and sank rapidly. Own vessel suffered significant damage to the bulbous bow and forepeak, which was filled with water.

 Causes:

This shows the importance of being prepared for all situations. Here the engine shut down as if the vessel had dropped anchor and had more tugs connected it might have prevented the situation.
Synopsis

Synopsis three:

Vessel A departed from the terminal in the morning. The Master, pilot, chief officer and helmsman were on the bridge. There was no proper pilot brief as there was no specific plan and no discussion about risks regarding the departure. The vessel was facing downstream and departed under pilotage. Another vessel was known to be proceeding upriver and approaching the area and it appears that the pilot decided to head further to the south side of the river in order to pass the other vessel. By the time the pilot ordered port helm in order to head downriver, the vessel was caught in the flood tide and the bow started to swing to starboard. A tug was standing by but could not assist, as it had been let go just after departure. The vessel increased power ahead but continued swinging to starboard, proceeding directly across the river at a speed of around 7 knots and heading for a vessel berthed at the terminal on the south bank. At this point the Master feared that the risk of collision was imminent, relieved the pilot and ordered full astern in order to reduce the speed and also take advantage of the transverse thrust effect of the right hand propeller to swing the bow further to starboard. At the same time the anchor was dropped but it was too late. As a result of these actions the vessel’s bow cleared the berthed vessel by about 30m but the vessel made heavy contact with the berth at a speed of about 4 knots.

Causes:

In this case the Master did actually relieve the pilot. It is not often we see this but the actions of the Master in critical situations are essential. To be prepared for departure and arrival, the Master and pilot need to fully discuss the plan and what to think about e.g. is there other concerned traffic, how is the weather, tides and currents etc. and any other issues that could affect the vessel. In this accident this was not discussed and the bridge team did not have full situational awareness. Know the risks. There was poor MRM as the Master felt uncomfortable but did not stop the pilot. It is common that Masters do not question pilots more, not assessing the risks correctly, or working together more with the pilot, or taking unnecessary risks.

Synopsis four: 

It was evening, with no exceptional wind and the vessel was berthing. The vessel was lining up for berthing starboard side with two tugs assisting in the manoeuvre. One tug went fast forward and the other was on the aft port side. A crane had been positioned just in front of the vessel. The vessel was brought approximately 40m off the berth and the tugs were requested to push the vessel towards the berth. While pushing the vessel the bow closed faster than the stern. The vessel approached the berth at an angle of no more than 1.5 degrees. During the manoeuvre the bow extended slightly over the berth and made contact with the crane platform, which was just 0.5 m from the edge of the quay. Shortly before impact the Master was informed by the officer on the bow that the bow was closing fast towards the crane. The Master tried to stop bow movement by putting the thruster hard to port, but contact with the crane could not be avoided. During the manoeuvre the pilot was in continuous communication with the tugs but only communicated in a foreign language. The Master did not know if the pilot had ordered the forward tug to reduce pushing or not. 

Causes:

The Master and pilot had not discussed the berthing and whether or not the crane would be an issue. The Master had been in this port previously but he did not recognise the crane as a risk. He did not discuss the crane’s position with the pilot and did not request the crane to be moved while the vessel was berthing. The risk of incorrectly positioned cranes had not been identified by the company. It is now included in the risk assessment and it should be discussed before berthing with the pilot. The MRM on the bridge could be improved, as the officer in the cockpit didn’t update the Master about the vessel’s position. It is important that all essential information is shared amongst the bridge team. The Master should also request that the pilot explains his orders in English if he uses a foreign language.
Synopsis

 

IRCA - bridge team was unprepared 

The vessel departed from the terminal in the morning. The Master, pilot, chief officer and helmsman were on the bridge. There was not a proper pilot briefing as there was no specific plan and no discussion about risks regarding departure.

The vessel was facing downstream and departed under pilotage. One tug was available astern but was let go just after departure. However, another vessel was known to be proceeding upriver and approaching the area. It appears that the pilot decided to head further to the south side of the river in order to pass the other vessel. By the time the pilot ordered port helm in order to head downriver, the vessel was caught in the flood tide and the bow started to swing to starboard. The standby tug could not assist, as it had been let go just after departure.

The vessel increased power ahead but continued swinging to starboard, proceeding directly across the river at a speed of around seven knots and heading for a vessel berthed at the terminal on the south bank. This high speed made the thrusters useless. 

At this point the Master feared that the risk of collision was imminent, relieved the pilot and ordered full astern to reduce speed and also take advantage of the transverse thrust effect of the right hand propeller to swing the bow further to starboard.  At the same time the anchor was dropped but it was too late.  As a result of these actions the vessel’s bow cleared the berthed vessel by about 30m but the vessel made heavy contact with the berth at a speed of about four knots.  

Findings from the accident investigation by the flag state inspectors were: 
• The port’s state investigation found that the pilot had applied port helm too late to prevent the vessel’s bow from swinging to starboard once it entered the tidal stream. 
• This accident might have been prevented had the pilot retained the option of using the tug for longer. 
• The Master and pilot did not conduct a detailed exchange of information. Had they discussed areas of the river transit that may have posed a risk, they might have decided to retain the use of the tug until the vessel was clear of the complex tidal flows. 
• The investigation recommended the port authority to include in its procedures a requirement for vessels departing the terminal to retain the use of a tug until they have fully entered the stream when a strong tidal counter-flow is present off the berth.

Gantry cranes

Visiting address

The Swedish Club
Gullbergs Strandgata 6
SE-411 04 Gothenburg
Sweden


Postal address

The Swedish Club
Gullbergs Strandgata 6
P.O Box 171
SE-401 22 Gothenburg
Sweden

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Tel +46 31 638 400
Fax +46 31 156 711
E-mail swedish.club@swedishclub.com

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