Operators advised to review manning levels – Fishupdate.com

Operators advised to review manning levels Published:  21 May, 2010

THE Marine Accident Investigation Board (MAIB) has carried out a preliminary investigation following the grounding of the wellboat, Ronja Skye on Morvern in February this year.

The Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to its operators, Sølvtrans Rederi AS, strongly advising the company to review the manning levels on board Ronja Skye to ensure that the risks of crew fatigue are reduced, and that a dedicated lookout can be maintained during the hours of darkness.

At 0100 on 24 February 2010, Ronja Skye departed the Geesgil Island fish farm for the Scottish Sea Farms’ fish processing factory in South Shian, carrying 80 tonnes of live salmon. At 0342, the chief officer altered course to 120º preparing to transit the Sound of Mull (Western Scotland); the speed at the time was 9.3 knots. At 0407:38, the vessel grounded on the western shores of Morvern; the course and speed at the time of the grounding had not been altered.

The master sought assistance from Ronja Pioneer, another Sølvtrans vessel, which arrived at the scene half an hour later, but he did not inform the coastguard of the accident. As the tide fell, Ronja Skye took on a port list. The crew pumped out 600 cubic metres of water from the fish tanks and the vessel rose approximately 1 metre, thus correcting her list. She was assisted into deeper water by Ronja Pioneer, after which she was able to proceed to port under her own power.

The investigation determined that at the time of the accident, the watch officer was probably suffering from fatigue and, as a result, fell asleep. Additionally, he was on watch alone without a dedicated lookout. Although the vessel’s bridge was fitted with a watch alarm, the evidence indicates that it was not functional at the time of the accident. Also, several other items of cargo equipment and navigational equipment were either defective or malfunctioning.