MAIB Report Cites Insufficient Lookout for Bunker Barge Collision with Cargo Vessel

Friday December 23, 2016

The UK Government's Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) Thursday released a report on a collision between the cargo ship Daroja and the bunker barge Erin Wood on August 29, 2015, which cites a lack of proper lookout on both vessels as the reason for the incident.

The incident, which is noted to have occurred during daylight and in good visibility, saw the cargo ship and bunker barge collide just east of Peterhead, Scotland, badly damaging Erin Wood, putting its crew in danger, and resulting in minor pollution from leaking bunker cargo.

The report found that that, due to insufficient lookout, watchkeepers on both vessels were unaware of the risk of collision and took no action to avoid the other vessel.

"Similar to previous MAIB investigations, this accident highlights the potential consequences when the risks associated with the Officer of the Watch (OOW) being the sole lookout are not effectively addressed," said the report.

It is noted that, visual and Automatic Identification System (AIS) information could have been utilised more effectively on both Daroja and the bunker barge Erin Wood.

"The flooding of Erin Wood happened because the vessel was underway with both the upper deck weathertight doors open," stated the report, adding: "care should always be taken at sea and watertight or weathertight doors should not be left open unnecessarily."

MAIB says safety recommendations have been made to the managers of both vessels to raise the standards of watchkeeping at sea, as well as to the St Kitts and Nevis International Ship Registry related to inspections of new vessels joining the flag.

As Ship & Bunker reported at the time the incident, the bunker tanker narrowly avoided capsizing after the collision.