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Accidents related to ISM Code failures: What we have learned so far

A major benefit of the ISM Code is that it encourages lessons to be learned from incidents. Thus, we have compiled a list of accidents related to ISM Code failures to highlight lessons learned. Besides, by learning lessons, safety procedures can be reviewed and amended to reduce risk of occurrence.

Inexperienced pilot the cause of fatal towing vessel sinking

NTSB published its report on the capsizing and sinking of the towing vessel Natalie Jean, on March 12, 2018, on the Lower Mississippi River near New Orleans, Louisiana. Two of the three crewmembers on board the towboat died in the accident. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the capsizing and sinking of the Natalie Jean was the company’s decision to place an inadequately vetted pilot on board the vessel.

Master overboard fatality linked to his emotional state

The Marine Accident Investigation Committee (MAIC) of Cyprus issued an investigation report on the fatality of the Master of the bulk carrier ‘Evnia’, after falling into the sea from a rope ladder, while the ship was berthed in Chittagong Port, Bangladesh, in June 2018. 

NTSB: Barge’s anchor damaging underwater pipelines

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued an investigation report on the anchor contact of the Articulated Tug and Barge ‘Clyde S VanEnkevort/ Erie Trader’ with underwater pipelines which resulted in an oil spill and significant damage. 

Investigation on man overboard fatality from Elb Trader ongoing

Cyprus’ Marine Accident Investigation Committee (MAIC) announced that the investigation of the man overboard fatality from the container ship ‘Elb Trader’ in the Port of Dublin, South Ireland, in January 2018 is still ongoing. France, Cyprus, Italy and Tunisia are jointly involved in the investigation.

Poor maintenance led to barge breakaway in Ohio River

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued an investigation report on a barge breakaway incident in the Ohio River which caused an estimated $12.5 million damage and an unknown release of coal and cement into the water. 

Insufficient stability leads to sinking with two fatalities

The UK MAIB issued an investigation report on the capsize and sinking of the prawn trawler ‘Nancy Glen’ off  Scotland in January 2018, which resulted in two fatalities. With respect to this incident, MAIB highlighted the necessity of fishing vessels to have sufficient stability to meet their operating profile. 

Improper safety management attributed to fatal motorboat sinking

DMAIB has issued an investigation report on the sinking of the small German motorboat RIGI, in Faxe Bay, Denmark, about 1 nm from shore. The investigation showed that the choice of boat, its equipment, its operation, and its manning influenced the events on the day of the accident. 

Crankcase breach of port main engine leads to fire

The US  National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued an investigation report on the engine room fire onboard the towing vessel ‘Leland Speakes’ on the Lower Mississippi River, in February 2018. A catastrophic failure and crankcase breach of the port main engine caused the fire. 

Improper operation of crane leads to fatal accident

The US Coast Guard released the results of the January 31 crane accident in the Coast Guard buoy yard in Homer, which resulted in the death of Chief Warrant Officer Michael Kozloski. The investigation found improper operation of the shoreside crane was the direct cause of the mishap.


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