201972 Unacceptable practices lead to grounding

19 Oct 2019 MARS 2019

Edited from official SHK (Sweden) report RS 2019:04e

A car carrier was underway in good visibility. The OOW had taken his watch at 0400 in the morning. A lookout was also on duty on the
bridge but from time to time he left to conduct fire rounds. At one point the OOW altered course to port to close the coast and continued to do administrative tasks, glancing at the ECDIS from time to time.

Occupied with his administrative tasks (or possibly sleeping), the OOW allowed the vessel to continue into shallow water where, some two hours and 40 minutes after having altered course to port, it grounded. At the time, the lookout was away on fire rounds. Upon
grounding the OOW put the propulsion to stop. The Master was soon on the bridge and the grounding checklist was activated. The salvage operation was long and complicated. Once refloated, the vessel was declared a total constructive loss and was sent to scrap.



The investigation found, among other things, that:

  • During the night, the lookout occasionally had tasks other than bridge watch.
  • The officers would sometimes perform tasks other than navigation during their watches.
  • The OOW had consumed alcohol before his watch and was intoxicated and probably fatigued at the time of grounding.
  • The Bridge Navigation Watch Alarm System (BNWAS) was not functioning at the time of grounding.

Lessons learned

  • This was a preventable accident: a perfect storm of how not to run a ship.
  • Lookouts should perform lookout duty to the exclusion of all other work. If lookouts are performing other tasks either your ship is undermanned or it is badly managed, or both.
  • The BNWAS is there for your safety – keep it turned on.
  • It goes without saying that an OOW should be sober and occupied solely with navigating the ship.