At approximately 0854 on May 27, 2003,
the engine on board the M/T BOW HUNTER, a Norwegian flag tanker,
failed to start in the astern direction
while transiting the Savannah River bound for Colonial Terminal # 3.
At the time of the incident, the engine was operating in bridge control mode
and the vessel was under the control of the pilot.
The pilot ordered the engine half astern in preparation to make a turn,
however, the engine did not respond
to the engine order telegraph (EOT) on the bridge
and failed to start.
The Captain and Pilot decided to switch to emergency maneuvering
and once again ordered the engine half astern.
The engine responded immediately.
However, due to the safety concerns of the pilot,
and the strong current conditions,
the vessel was placed alongside the nearest berth,
which was at the Georgia Kaolin facility.
Finding of Facts
1. The state pilot aboard the BOW HUNTER was Captain.
2. The vessel's drafts were: 11.0 meters fwd and 11.0 meters aft. 3.
The skies were clear with good visibility, variable winds,
and the tide was outgoing with an ebb current of approximately 3.0 knots.
4. The vessel was proceeding upriver in the Marsh Island Turning Basin
with the engine stopped in preparation to make a turn. 5. While in
bridge control, the pilot ordered half astern and the engine failed to start.
6. After switching to emergency maneuvering,
the engine started in the astern direction.
7. After mooring at the temporary berth,
the engineers discovered an air valve in the control air system
that failed to due to moisture and dirt.
8. After changing the valve,
the main engine was successfully started
in both engine room control and bridge control modes.
9. A class survey by DNV was conducted
finding the engine automation equipment in good working order.
10. A Captain of the Port Order (# 024-03)
was administered by the COTP of Savannah
allowing the vessel to shift from it's temporary berth to Colonial # 3
with two tugs in attendance and the local control station in the E/R manned
and in constant contact with the bridge.
Conclusion: 1. An air solenoid valve
that is part of the control automation system
malfunctioned causing the vessel
to lose propulsion control from the wheelhouse.
2. The vessel's crew installed a new air solenoid valve
and tested the engine control from the bridge, engine control room, and locally.
The engine started in both ahead and astern directions.
3. A Det Norske Veritas class survey concluded
that the maine engine start/stop/reverse automation is in good working order.