Details of the Accident

Accident type: Collision between two vessels

Vessel(s) involved: Cypriot-flagged cargo “Raba” / Danish-flagged 'World Bora'

Date: 19 February 2019

Location: Island of Rügen, Baltic Sea

The Incident

#RABA perspective:

The master of RABA was responsible for observing the traffic onboard the vessel and did not identify any ships as a risk of collision.

On the starboard side, the other vessel “WORLD BORA” was seen crossing RABA’s course but wasn’t considered as a danger that could cause a collision. Thus, the master didn’t pay closer attention. However, during his watch, he got preoccupied with other duties and lost track of time, resulting to him not following up with the crossing vessel he previously saw.

In the meantime, although the AB was conducting lookout, he didn’t inform the master of the close quarter situation until a few minutes before the collision.

It is likely that the AB did not realise the risk of collision, because he was not trained in detecting the risk of collision by means of visual bearing alone

… the report highlights.

Moreover, the AB was not aware of the serious danger, until he saw WORLD BORA rapidly approaching the ship. Once the master observed WORLD BORA, the collision could only be avoided by immediately turning the ship. Forgetting about the crossing ship changed the situation from being early traffic de-conflicting to an emergency response, once WORLD BORA was detected.

For the time being, it remains unclear why the master opted to contact the WORLD BORA instead of turning the vessel away, or even why he confused WORLD BORA with the fishing ship SIRIUS.

The report states that it is most likely that because of the situation, the short time the master had to react, along with his lack in knowing how to deal with the equipment may be the factors of him contacting with the wrong vessel in his attempts to avoid collision.

Probable causes - RABA - 

Following the investigation, the report presents the factors that are most likely to have caused the collision between the two vessels.

In essence:

  1. The underlying reason for why the master forgot to follow up on the traffic was his preoccupation with the activities he was engaged in while keeping the navigational watch. These activities were related to his function as watchkeeping officer and master of the ship.
  2. The master had recently signed on the ship, which made it necessary for him to familiarise himself with the bridge, the crew and the work tasks. The watchkeeping schedule necessitated this work practice which was facilitated by the layout of the bridge.

The Incident

#WORLD BORA perspective

On the other hand, on WORLD BORA, the master never observed RABA approaching, that is why he thought it was safe to smoke and conduct administrative work while sporadically keeping visual lookout.

The master was focused on computer work and lost track of time, which resulted in RABA not being observed prior to the collision.

Given that WORLD BORA was operated as a conventional cargo ship and not as a HSC, the watch schedule and manning of the bridge. Therefore, there was no additional person on the bridge to keep lookout, and the approaching RABA therefore went unnoticed while the master sat by the desk using the computer.

The layout of the bridge comprised both navigational station, office, meeting room and smoking area on the upper deck, which facilitated engaging in non-watchkeeping activities while keeping the navigational watch.

DMAIB comments that, based on other investigations, watchkeeping is intertwined with other tasks than navigating the ship and keeping lookout.

Bridge watchkeeping practices are highly dependent on a variety of factors:

  • type of ship
  • trading pattern
  • bridge layout
  • the navigational situation (amount of traffic, confined vs. open waters).

In waters where the watchkeeping officers consider it safe, they will direct their attention to other tasks such as writing in the logbook, updating charts, making phone calls or moving from the navigational station to read emails, file documents or go to the lavatory.

Even though these work practises are common and normally unproblematic, they became critical when the watchkeeping officers on RABA and WORLD BORA were simultaneously immersion in those activities when the ships were on a collision course.

… the investigation report stated.

Actions taken

World Marine Offshore have introduced preventive actions in different areas. The actions are as follows:

  • Seatbelts were installed in World Bora but after the incident seatbelts were installed on all other vessels.
  • An “aviation approach” to Seatbelts is utilized. During the whole transit the industrial personnel must be seated.
  • Crew members highlighted that they should ensure that the signal lights in the passenger area are respected (red/green) by all industrial personnel. And that the area must be more frequently monitored.
  • Updated safety video concerning seatbelts on all vessels.
  • Our Masters Standing Orders Form have been revised to state clearly that if the Duty Officer in any case or time needs to move from the Pilot chair, he must call for a lookout to come on the bridge. A lookout is also required during transit to and from the Windfarm.
  • A new Procedure for Industrial Personnel (IP) check-in has been implemented to ensure that the IP’s have seen the Safety video, have fastened their seat belts during the voyage - transit and transfer and have signed the sign-in log.
  • A new Bridge watch procedure has been implemented.
  • The Bridge Watch handover check list and Pre-departure check list have been updated.
  • An “Safety Flash” on proper use of the radar ARPA functions have been issued and sent to all vessels.

In accordance with collision m/v Raba with World Bora Company’s Management followed the actions below:

  • Officer on watch during watch keeping is obliged to safe vessel steering and has absolute ban on performing office work (including computer use, etc.).
  • If necessary to perform office work, Officer on watch calls the seaman on the bridge to conduct visual observation and on the radar.
  • In areas with particularly heavy traffic, Officer on watch is obliged to call a seaman on the bridge to watch keeping.

To learn more on the collision between the two vessels, click herebelow