A 1,000 TEU container loaded and then departed the berth. During loading operations there was some delay and the gantry cranes were not operating due to strong winds, so the Master was eager to depart.
The navigation officer prepared the bridge before departure, while on the bridge were the Master, pilot, lookout and Chief Officer. A tug assisted the vessel during departure.
The Master gave the pilot the pilot card and offered him some coffee. After this the Master gave the pilot the conn.
Moreover, the pilot was steering from the port side bridge wing. At that time, the berth had a heading of 317° and there were still WSW winds at Beaufort scale 9, with the vessel being moored at the end of the berth. The vessel’s fairway during departure had a heading of 230°.
The pilot planned for the vessel to go astern and swing to port and clear the end of the berth and then follow the fairway.
However, he did not explain the plan to the Master and the Master didn’t ask the pilot about any plan.
Thus, the master ordered all the lines let go, resulting to the bow falling faster than the stern as the wind pushed on the vessel’s port side, off the berth. The pilot ordered half astern and the plan was to use the bow thruster to let the vessel’s bow swing past the end of the berth and to position the vessel to sail out in the fairway. At this time the vessel had a course of 310°.
In light of this, the tug tried to help by pushing the vessel on the starboard side.
At that time, the ship was sailing astern at 2 knots and towards the south side of the fairway, which was the opposite side of the fairway. There were several buoys marking the fairway.
A buoy was close to the vessel, about 50 metres away and the wind was making the vessel drift towards the buoy.
Seeing the position of the vessel, the second officer, who was on the stern, alerted the chief officer vias the UHF that a buoy was only 30 m away on the starboard quarter.
The Chief Officer informed the pilot and Master but neither of them acknowledged or took any action. The chief officer further alerted that the buoy was in close proximity, being 10 metres away from the vessel.
At the same time the pilot received a job-related mobile phone call which he answered. The vessel continued its movement astern and hit the buoy on the starboard quarter.
The buoy was entirely dragged underneath the vessel, and damaged the propeller, rudder and rudder stock.
The damage caused the vessel to lose its steering and because of the damage the Master stopped the main engine. This caused the vessel to start drifting even quicker SE towards shallow waters.
The pilot suggested that the anchor should be dropped, and the master ordered the port anchor to be dropped. This was delayed as the 2nd Officer had to go from the stern to the bow. When he got to the bow and the bosun tried to drop the anchor it got entangled and it took a minute before it was released. At the same time the vessel ran aground.