Friday, May 23, 2008

Pasha Bulker Grounding Report Released.

Bob Couttie has the story on the release of the report of the grounding of the Pasha Bulker and, big surprise, the master is to blame.There were 57 bulkers at anchor that day as the storm approached. Evidently the assumption on the part of shore side authorities is that each of these ships is commanded by a captain who is a well rested, experienced seaman, with superior judgment, unclouded by commercial pressure with absolutely no concerns, except the one that, in hindsight, is going to prove his and his ship's undoing.
The article points out that the anchorage was unsafe in bad weather condition.
Newcastle anchorage is suitable only in good weather and nautical publications contain warnings about the local weather conditions and recommend that masters put to sea before conditions become severe.
The master got just three hours of sleep the night before the incident, the question is what was he doing sleeping for three hours when he clearly should have been studying his nautical publications?

According to the report
"Newcastle Vessel Traffic Information Centres advisory role “was not properly understood by the masters of a number of the ships in the Newcastle anchorage on 7 June 2007″ says the ATSB."
Also this...
"Newcastle Vessel Traffic Information Centre asked the masters of three ships, including Pasha Bulker, to leave the restricted area off the ports entrance. Given that all three ships were struggling to clear the coast and that there was no need to keep the area clear because there was no traffic into or out of the port, these communications were of no benefit and unnecessary, and may also have adversely influenced the decisions of masters, including Pasha Bulker’s."
So, the captain of a 225 meter, 77,000 DWT bulker is clawing his way off the lee shore in 40 kt winds and 10 meter seas. At this point the Traffic Information Center calls and informs him that his ship has entered a restricted area. In hindsight, what the master should have done is to check his inbox to see is there a memo or circular informing him that regulations concerning the use of crude, obscene and vulgar language on the VHF will be waived in these circumstances. Because he should have told them to go fly a kite, but put in a more 'colorful" manner.

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