MAIB report on grounding of the CFL Performer

19 December 2008

Reports on casualties resulting from passage planning problems have featured regularly in the London Clubs StopLoss Bulletin. For example, berth-to-berth planning in StopLoss 38 included a reminder of the advantage of using cross hatching to indicate a no go area on a paper chart. And recently, the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has issued a report which, among other things, highlights the same issue for Electronic Chart Display Information Systems (ECDIS).

The MAIB report follows an investigation into a grounding that occurred because a ship was following a planned route across a sand bank where the charted depth of water was considerably less than its draught.

The voyage was planned and executed on the ships ECDIS, which had safety features that should have prevented the grounding. For example, the safety contour function, if correctly set up, displays a visual boundary between safe and unsafe areas. Of course, this safety feature requires the bridge team to input accurate data for draught, height of tide and required under keel clearance. The ECDIS was also capable of being configured to sound an audible alarm, should the ship approach an unsafe area.

The MAIB established that the bridge team had not been trained in the use of ECDIS and were unaware of the in-built safety features. As a result, the MAIB concluded, the ships deck officers operated the system in a very basic and inherently dangerous manner.

A copy of the MAIB report is attached but readers may also be interested to note that problems arising from a lack of familiarity with electronic bridge equipment are also covered in the StopLoss 51, which will be available shortly.