Near miss: emergency stop pressed accidentally

What happened?

During DP operations a vessel lost its Port azimuth thruster.  The vessel suspended DP operations and safely pulled out of the 500m zone to allow investigation.  It was discovered that a crew member, while passing near to the port azimuth thruster control panel in the engine control room, inadvertently hit the emergency stop button with his elbow, resulting in a stoppage of the thruster.

What were the causes?

  • Lack of situational awareness;
  • There was a guard in place protecting the emergency stop switch, but it was not effective.

What actions were taken?

  • All similar emergency stop buttons are to be identified throughout all vessels and replaced.