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Health and safety

MAIB report into cargo vessel grounding puts safeguarding on ECDIS and voyage planning in the spotlight

7 June 2021

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has advised ship managers Misje Rederi AS to review the number of watchkeepers on its vessels in a report into the grounding of the general cargo vessel Kaami on the west coast of Scotland.

MAIB issued the recommendation 'with the aim of minimising the hazards associated with fatigue; improving the guidance given in [Misje Rederi's] safety management systems on the effective use of electronic chart display and information (ECDIS) and of bridge lookouts; and to enhance its ability to conduct internal navigation audits.'

The Kaami ran aground in the early morning of 21 March 2020, on Sgeir Graidach shoal in the Little Minch, Scotland. The crew were safely evacuated by coastguard helicopter and the vessel refloated by salvors on 4 May 2020. There were no injuries or pollution, but Kaami was declared a constructive total loss and was later scrapped. The crew's voyage planning procedures and passage monitoring did not identify the grounding hazard presented by the Sgeir Graidach shoal, even after a verbal warning from a local fishing boat.

The MAIB report also raised some specific safety issues, including the fact that 'the mandatory generic and type specific training for the electronic chart display and information (ECDIS) system were not successful in providing the crew of Kaami with the skills and knowledge necessary to use the vessel's ECDIS safely.'

Although manned in accordance with the flag state requirements, the onboard operation 'did not allow adequate opportunity for the chief officer to plan the voyage and for his plan to be checked and verified by a second member of the bridge team as required by the vessel's safety management system', said the MAIB.

MAIB noted the safety issues on ECDIS, voyage planning and passage monitoring were identical with 'many of those seen in similar accidents' it had investigated.

Currently MAIB is collaborating with the Danish Marine Accident Investigation Branch (DMAIB) in a study of ECDIS to research the reasons why seafarers are using ECDIS in ways that are often at variance with the instructions and guidance provided by system manufacturers and regulators. The draft report consultation ended on 2 June 2021 and a final report published in September 2021.



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