Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority (NSIA) has published an investigation report into the sinking of the cargo vessel Bjugnfjord north of Helsingør in Denmark on 20 January 2022.
liquefied soil. The NSIA considers it likely that there was moisture in part of the stockpile and thereby in the soil that was taken on board.ccording to NSIA, the bulk carrier MS Bjugnfjord sank on its way out of the Kattegat due to cargo displacement of 1,900 tonnes of partially
During the voyage, the vessel was exposed to wind from starboard, in addition to increasing wave heights as they entered open waters. The ship’s movements thereby caused the cargo to shift when moist cargo behaved more like liquid cargo, and the vessel started listing, first to port and then to starboard.
When the captain decided to turn, a major list occurred, this time to starboard. The crew realized within a short time that the vessel was about to be lost. They issued a distress call and evacuated ‘Bjugnfjord’ by jumping into the sea wearing survival suits. All five on board were eventually rescued by rescue helicopter.
For an illustration of the incident and an explanation of the reasons that caused it, you can watch NSIA’s video bellow:
The NSIA’s investigation shows that the way the stockpile was composed of material received from different construction sites, it was very difficult to keep an overview of the properties of the soil to be transported by bulk carrier.
The NSIA believes there were no mechanisms in place to identify whether the soil had inherent properties that meant the cargo could become unstable (liquify) when the moisture content exceeded a certain limit.
For transport assignments where it is not practically possible to obtain information about the properties of the cargo, only the design of the vessel may help to reduce the potential consequences of cargo shifting.
In such case, the uncertainty associated with the properties of the cargo must be addressed through the vessel’s design and stability characteristics.
The NSIA assumes that other shippers may also be unaware of the provisions in the applicable Regulations on the Carriage of Cargoes on Norwegian Ships and Barges with regard to determining and providing information about the properties of cargo. The consequences may be that the ships’ crew fail to take necessary precautions in relation to the cargo.
The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority recommends that the Norwegian Maritime Authority look into the scope of the problem and implement relevant measures to ensure that the provisions of the currently applicable cargo regulations are complied with.