A report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch found that a cargo ship ran aground in March last year after the chief officer fell asleep
A cargo ship headed to Belgium ran aground off the east coast of England in March last year after the officer on watch fell asleep.
In findings published this week, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) believe that Danio’s chief officer had been asleep for more than three hours before the vessel ran aground in the Farne Islands nature reserve.
The report said: “It is very likely that the chief officer was suffering from the cumulative effects of fatigue due to the combination of the six hours on, six hours off watch routine and the frequent disruptions to this routine when he was required to monitor the cargo work in port.”
The MAIB also discovered that a number of important safety measures had been routinely bypassed. The investigation found that the ship’s bridge navigational watch alarm system (BNWAS) was permanently switched off, there was no lookout posted on the bridge as stipulated by international rules and the watch keepers relied on an unapproved electronic navigation system instead of the required navigation paper charts.
“Although Danio had a fully functional and compliant BNWAS, it was kept switched off even though the master and chief officer kept lone watches on the bridge. Neither of them fully appreciated the functionality of the system or the protection to their safety that it could provide.”
The vessel’s salvage operation was delayed by poor weather conditions and remained aground for 12 days.
Danio was successfully refloated and towed from the area on 28 March 2013.
Following the incident, the MAIB recommended to the ship’s owner that the company’s internal auditing regime be amended to ensure that documented procedures match actually practices on board.