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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Baltic Carrier KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 6
source CEDRE
type L
volume
material
dead
link http://www.le-cedre.fr/en/spill/baltic/baltic.php


source IOPCF
type L
volume 2500T
material
dead
link


source FSI12
type D
volume 2732T
material
dead
link

COLLISION BALTIC CARRIER CHEMICAL/OIL TANKER MARSHALL ISLANDS 22235 MARSHALL ISLANDS TERN BULK CARRIER CYPRUS 20362 Date of casualty 29/03/2001

Event ANALYSIS BASED ON REPORT FROM MARSHALL ISLANDS (FSI 12): 1) The two ships collided in the vicinity of 54 43.1N, 012 35 E while on passage through the 17m DW route in the Baltic Sea 2) The bow of the bulk carrier impacted with the starboard side of the oil tanker at an angle of about 50 deg. 3) The oil tanker was extensively damaged between frames 40 and 68 and much of the 2,732 tonnes of OM 100 fuel oil contained in No 6 starboard tank was lost into the sea 4) Damage to the bulk carrier included her bulwark, stem and bow plating

Event ANALYSIS BASED ON REPORT FROM DENMARK (FSI 11): - The two ships collided in the vicinity of the 17 m DW route in the Baltic Sea, at 54 43.2N, 012 35 E The collision angle was 50 deg when the bulk carrier ran into the oil tanker in way of its starboard No 6 double hull tank - The oil tanker was holed through the No 6 double hull tank 2700 tonnes of fuel oil escaped into the sea The pollution of the coastline was the most severe which had ever happened in Denmark - The bulk carrier was heavily damaged in way of the forward structure to a degree that impaired its seaworthiness The forepeak ballast tank was opened to sea The bulkhead between the forepeak and the cargo hold was also affected.

Cause ANALYSIS BASED ON REPORT FROM MARSHALL ISLANDS (FSI 12): 1) A failure in the electrical control system of its steering caused the oil tanker to make an unintended turn to port into the path of the oncoming bulk carrier 2) Both vessels were navigating in a deep water channel, which affords a passing distance of about 0.5 miles, when both had sufficient under keel clearance to use an alternative wider channel. 3) There was about a half minute delay from when the helmsman reported that the vessel was not responding to the helm until the steering failure alarm light illuminated and the Master ordered a change to an alternative control system 4) The Master had no way of determining the nature of the steering failure, be it electrical or mechanical, when first reported by the helmsman 5) The unexpected alteration of course by the oil tanker was not immediately observed by the OOW of the bulk carrier, who was working in the chartroom. contributed to the accident 6) Neither vessel altered engine speed or direction in an attempt to avoid the collision

CAUSES ANALYSIS BASED ON REPORT FROM DENMARK (FSI 11): - The primary cause of the collision was an unintended port turn by the oil tanker which was caused by an unknown technical error in the steering system - Cause of the failure of the steering system could not be established There is only a very remote possibility that failure of the steering system was caused by Magnetic Disturbance or lack of Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)* - Both vessels chose to navigate in the 1 mile wide DW route although their drafts permitted them to use the much wider traffic separation scheme Use of the DW route restricted the safe passing distance between the two vessels - The second officer of the bulk carrier went into the chart room just before both vessels were about to pass at a distance of 0.5 mile This reduced the response time available when collision risk developed suddenly * Comments on the analysis from the Reporting State: According to the report of the Division for Investigation of Maritime Accidents (DIMA) the opinion is as follows - DIMA is of the opinion that the steering problems have not been caused by a magnetic field from the power cables. - The opinion of DIMA is that it is possible that the steering problems could have been caused because equipment on board were EMC vulnerable Another possibility could be weakness in the software of the steering stand - DIMA is at the moment working to find out if it is possible to make further examinations on the steering stand equipment."

ISSUES RAISED BASED ON REPORT FROM DENMARK (FSI 11): - Although it is not forbidden to use the DW route, it is advisable for vessels drawing a relatively shallow draft to use the recommended direction of traffic flow in order to allow greater passing distance between vessels - New SOLAS Ch V requires all electronic equipment on the bridge of ships constructed on or after 1 July 2002, to be tested for EMC

ISSUES RAISED BASED ON REPORT FROM MARSHALL ISLANDS (FSI 12): 1) There is no regulation preventing vessels, which can safely use alternative routes from using DW routes, which are intended for deep drafted vessels 2) When assessing a safe distance at which to pass another vessel, the probability and potential consequences of a mechanical or steering failure must always be considered 3) Bridge watchkeepers need to be alert and closely monitor the actions of other vessels when in close proximity. 4) The use of main engines must always be considered when taking avoiding action

HUMAN FACTOR ISSUES RAISED BASED ON REPORT FROM MARSHALL ISLANDS (FSI 12): There do not appear to be any significant human factor related issues that have directly

HUMAN FACTOR ISSUES RAISED BASED ON REPORT FROM DENMARK (FSI 11): - OOW should remain at heightened alert when passing another vessel at close range and should be vigilant for, inter alia, equipment failure and unexpected response from own and/or the other vessel.


source Environmental News Service, 2001-03-30
type D
volume 1900T
material
dead
link

The collision of a cargo ship with a double hulled oil tanker latre Wednesday night has spilled about 1900 tons of heavy fuel oil into the water. The oil has formed a slick 12 km long between the German penisula Darsa and the Danish Island of Moen. The collision tore a 20 meter wide hole in the tanker's hull.


source Danish Maritime Authority
type D
volume 1900T
material
dead
link

Good factual report, but did not do a good job at getting at the underlying cause of the sterring failure. Both steering pumps were on. After the collision both the CE and electrician said they found green light son both pumps. Wind was quite strong. Helmsman on BC had to keep the rudder 5 to 10 degrees to starboard to maintain course, but rudder was said to be near zero when they lost steering. But ship still went port. The Danish Maritime Institutes later concluded that with the wind SSE at 15 m/s, that the ship would go port with the rudder amidships. (This must be due to all the windage aft.) When they switched to the other control system, Master decided his best bet was to keep going port. The BC's course at impact was 185.

The BC had had a problem with the steering gear in August 2000 near Rotterdam and had run aground. DNV said the cause was a loose wire in a junction box of the hydraulic unit.

The steering stand was built by Tokimec. If the rudder does not follow the helm order, there is a 35 second delay in alarm. The alarm is reset everytime the helm crosses zero. In close quarters such an alarm is useless.

The Danish investigators were not appointed until four days after the collision and were unable to recreate the malfunction. A Tokimec technician told them falsely that it was impossible to read out alarms. They did not figure out the lie until the 18th by which time any alarms at the time of the collision were gone due to limited memory.

There was an attempt to blame the problems on electromagnetic interference from underwater power lines. But they found no unusual magnetic field in the area nor anything special from other instruments.

The Danes fell back on blame-the-crew. Both Masters were criticized for taking the deep water route when the shallow water route would have given them more separation. The OOW of the Tern was criticized for going to the chart room after seeing that the Carrier was safely passing.


source CTX
type D
volume
material
dead
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Here's an example of a collison caused by a mechanical failure. Yet IMO focuses almost exclusively on human factors, and makes no real attempt to improve the equipment. The suggestion that the watch officer on the bulk carrier should not have gone to the chart room because a ship that was easily clear port to port was all of a sudden going to turn across his path is nonsense. Not only does he have to get ready for the next encounter; but as the DMA admits, the helmsman on the Tern picked up on the fact that the BC was turning almost immediately, yelled to the OOW who immediately came back to the helm.

The idea that ships should stay out of deep water is also nonsence. As the Master of the Baltic Carrier pointed out, it gave him more separation from shallow water.

Cyprus in commenting on the Danish report makes both these points. Of course, Cyprus quickly says We are not going to make public any report.

The EMC stuff is also almost certainly nonsense. Steering gear control systems can fail for any number of far, far more likely reasons. In such situations, the Chief Engineer investigates the failure, figures out what went wrong and repairs it. The obvious question is: what did the CE find wrong? Apparently neither Denmark nor the Marshall Islands asked him this question, nor did IMO fault them for not asking the question.

Tokimec was clearly in cover-up mode. It is a good bet that this is not the only such failure. It is a good bet they know what went wrong. And the owner probably does to. The telling point is that the owners decided to install a new steering stand from a different manufacturer.

Ship was double hull, damage was high in the tank as would be expected in a collision with the tanker loaded. Cedre picture shows damage on deck in way of 6S extends at least half way to centerline. Ship's beam is 27.34 m, so depth of penetration was at least 6 meters, (The Dane's called it about 5 meters.) Double sides could not contain oil. ITOPF claims one-third of spillage was recovered which, if true, would be a record for an open water spill. Weather must hae been very good. CEDRE also says 940 tons recovered at sea but adds that oil was so thick and viscous that "manual diggers were as efficient as standard skimmers"