The incident

On 23 June 2015, in daylight with clear visibility, 'Jag Arnav' and 'Total Response' collided about 26 NM north-west of Bunbury, Western Australia. Jag Arnav sustained minor damage and no injuries to the crew. Total Response sustained structural damage to its bow and deck, and two crew members received lacerations and abrasions. Both vessels were able to resume their passage.

Findings

  • A proper lookout, in accordance with The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs), was not maintained on board Total Response. No one, including the deckhand acting as watchkeeper, saw Jag Arnav or was aware of its approach.
  • Leading up to the collision, the responsibility for the supervision of the unqualified deckhand's watchkeeping activities, by a qualified deck watchkeeper, was not clearly established on board Total Response.
  • In the time leading up to the collision, it is likely that the chief mate and deckhand on board Total Response were at least in a state of reduced alertness attributable to the environmental factors, including the low mental and physical workload prevalent on the day, which may have influenced the effectiveness of the lookout.
  • A proper lookout by all available means, in accordance with the company procedures, master’s standing orders and COLREGs, was not maintained neither onboard Jag Arnav. The third officer incorrectly assessed that Total Response would pass clear based on a visual sighting and made no use of electronic aids such as radar or automatic identification system to determine if risk of collision existed.
  • Jag Arnav’s voyage data recorder contained sensor data that could not be interpreted and poor quality audio recordings that did not meet the required IMO performance standards.
  • At the time of the collision, there were no master's standing orders present on board Total Response as required by the company’s safety management system.

Actions taken

  • The owner of Jag Arnav, the Great Eastern Shipping Company, advised that it has circulated its report into the collision to other ships that they manage and will provide additional training for navigation officers.
  • The company has also emphasised their requirements as laid out in its safety management system with regard to the use of radar for position fixing, acquiring observed targets, use of automatic target acquisition and the use of radar overlay on the electronic chart display and information system.

Safety message

Over the past 28 years, the ATSB or its predecessors have investigated 38 collisions between trading ships and small vessels on the Australian coast. These investigations have found that failure to keep a proper and effective lookout and to take early and effective avoiding action are recurring contributing factors to these collisions. This was again highlighted by this accident.

The detection of other vessels is the first step in assessing the risk of a collision and taking avoiding action. Systematic visual observations and active use of electronic equipment designed to detect and monitor other vessels can reduce the risk of vessels going undetected or the risk of a collision being incorrectly assessed. Early detection, monitoring and correct assessment of the risk of a collision ensures that timely and appropriate avoiding action can be taken.

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