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Cargo ship loaded with containers close to coast

Member Alert

MSS Case November: Main engine failure caused serious contact accident

It was night and the vessel was in ballast condition and heading to port. The pilot boarded and two tugs were connected: one on the bow and one on the stern. Prior to the pilot boarding, the engine had been tested and the prearrival checks had been completed. At the pilot brief the pilot was given the pilot card and he informed the Master that the plan was to berth on the starboard side. To be able to do this the vessel was required to carry out a 180° turn to port. The Master had lined up the vessel and started to turn when the main engine failed to respond. He ordered slow astern but there was no response. Several repeated orders, from slow astern to full astern, were commanded from the bridge telegraph but with no response.

The main engine was a medium speed four-stroke engine driving a fixed pitch propeller through a gearbox controlled via a Woodward governor and reversing effected by the main gearbox. Control was carried out via the electronic bridge control.

On this vessel, during manoeuvring the Chief Engineer was customarily on the bridge. He was operating the engine telegraph and attempted to transfer control to the engine control room. At the same time the pilot requested the two assisting tugs to attempt to turn the vessel away from danger. Just in front of the vessel were a tug and a moored barge, which the vessel hit at a speed of five knots. 

Read more about this case in the latest Monthly Safety Scenario.

For more Loss Prevention information, please contact: 
Joakim Enström, 
Loss Prevention Officer

Each month, the Club’s Loss Prevention team issues a new safety scenario to assist members in their efforts to comply with international safety regulations and follow best practices.