TSB Canada issued an investigation report on the collision of the bulk carriers Golden Cecilie and Green K-Max 1 in the Plumper Sound, British Columbia, in March 2020. The Golden Cecilie suffered dragging anchor due to heavy winds, the report reveals, stressing that the crew did not follow established procedures to ready the vessel for impending adverse weather conditions.
On 30 March 2020, the bulk carrier Golden Cecilie was anchored at Anchorage C in Plumper Sound, British Columbia, with 20 people onboard, when it collided with the bulk carrier Green K-Max 1 anchored at Anchorage B, after reporting a dragging anchor due to gusting wind.
Following the collision, both vessels’ anchor chains became entangled. With the direction of a pilot on each vessel, and the assistance of two tugs, the anchor chains were disentangled and the two vessels returned under their own power to their respective anchorages and were secured in place.
There were no injuries or pollution reported, but both vessels sustained damage to their hulls as a result of the incident.
The Golden Cecilie had an SMS manual that included guidance and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk of dragging anchor.
The investigation established that the crew did not collect the daily local weather forecast for the day of occurrence from the VHF radio, weather fax, medium frequency-high frequency broadcast, nor did the crew obtain an up-to-date weather warning from local authorities, such as Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) or Marine Communication and Traffic Services (MCTS).
As a consequence the crew did not follow established procedures to ready the vessel and crew for impending adverse weather conditions. As well, factors that impact dragging an anchor had not been taken into consideration as per the SMS, and the emergency preparedness to respond to adverse weather was inadequate,
…the report reads.
Following the occurrence, the Golden Cecilie’s operator took the following safety action:
- The anchoring and anchor watch checklist was amended on 01 May 2020 to indicate that the master should be informed immediately if the barometric pressure drops by 3 mb during watch or if the wind speed exceeds 21 knots (force 5 on the Beaufort scale). In such circumstances, the engines are to be placed on standby and the deck watch is to monitor the anchor position.
- The checklist was also amended to specifically indicate the engine notice period as per the master’s instruction.
A notice was sent to the vessels informing them that they should be documenting the engine notice period, the state of readiness, and the position of the second anchor in the bridge log book.
- A “Safety Flash” bulletin was circulated to all vessel crew members stressing the importance of proper anchor watches and compliance with the SMS.
- Bridge resource management refresher training was arranged for bridge watch officers.
When vessels are at anchor, crews need to:
- collect weather forecasts from all available sources in a timely manner;
- be aware of the risk factors that can lead to dragging anchor, in particular excessive freeboard and inadequate ballasting; and
- ensure that the main engines, anchors, and deck machinery are ready so that corrective action can be taken at the first sign of dragging anchor.
Between January 2015 and March 2020, a total of 102 dragging anchor occurrences along the BC coastline were reported to MCTS.
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