MAIB report on contact between Ursine and Pride of Bruges

16 June 2008

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has recently published a report on the collision between two ro-ro ferries in Hull in November 2007.
The incident occurred while one of the ferries, Ursine, was inward bound for the King George Dock. The berthing plan involved the ship entering the lock stern first and then manoeuvring astern again between the lock and the berth.
Prior to approaching the lock, the Pilotage Exemption Certificate (PEC) holder in the bridge team briefed, amongst others, the officer in charge of the aft mooring station (the second officer) on the planned manoeuvre, and the ship entered the lock without incident.
However, there was no similar briefing between the bridge and mooring teams on the planned manoeuvre between the lock and 5 Quay Middle, which was the berth which the PEC holder believed had been allocated to Ursine within the dock.
Further, the PEC holder and the Master could not see the berth from their conning position on the port bridge wing (although it would have been visible from the starboard side of the bridge) and relied on distances off being reported from the aft mooring station by the second officer. What the PEC holder and the Master did not realise was that the Pride of Bruges was moored alongside 5 Quay Middle.
The second officer seems to have been uncertain of which berth the Ursine was being manoeuvred towards and also seems to have assumed that the bridge team were fully aware of the presence of the Pride of Bruges. As a result, he was reporting distances off without specifying that these distances were to the bow of the Pride of Bruges.
The PEC holder and the Master assumed that the reports gave the position of the stern relative to an empty berth and became aware that assumption was wrong only when the Ursine struck the other ship. The collision was then confirmed by a report from the second officer and the MAIBs report records that the PEC holder went immediately to the starboard bridge wing and expressed his surprise and dismay on discovering that 5 Quay Middle was occupied by the Pride of Bruges.
Unsurprisingly, the MAIB identify bridge team management failings in their report and the PEC holders employers have taken action to ensure that both the bridge team and the mooring deck supervisors are fully briefed prior to critical manoeuvres.
The full report, which covers several other key safety issues, is accessible by clicking here.