Skip to content

Distraction – Don’t text and navigate

1 Overview

A dynamic positioned (DP) PSV was conducting operations near a drilling rig in the North Sea.

The DPO of the PSV was using their phone while they were supposed to be monitoring the vessel’s position. As a result, they were not paying attention to the vessel’s movements, and it drifted too close to the rig. The vessel collided with the rig, causing significant damage to both assets.

The investigation into the incident found that the operator of the PSV had been using their phone for personal reasons while they were supposed to be monitoring the vessel’s position. The investigation also found that the operator had not received adequate training on the use of DP Control System.

2 Recommendations

Recommendations included:

  • Increased training for DP operators on the use of phones and other electronic devices while on duty.
  • Increased supervision of DP operators to ensure they are not distracted from their duties.
  • Improved procedures for monitoring the position of DP vessels.
  • Operator stations should have a personal phone ban within a certain radius.
  • Use of Mobile Phones and other personal smart devices should be addressed in the Master’s and Chief Engineer’s DP standing orders.

3 Conclusion

The incident involving the PSV is a reminder of the importance of operator attention when operating DP vessels. Distractions, such as the use of phones, can have serious consequences. By following the recommendations of the investigation, the offshore industry can help to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

The use of phones and other electronic devices while on duty is a major safety hazard in the offshore industry.

The following IMCA Guidance would be relevant to this case study:

IMCA M117       The Training and experience of key DP personnel

IMCA M220       Guidance on operational planning

The following case studies and observations have been compiled from information received by IMCA. All vessel, client, and operational data has been removed from the narrative to ensure anonymity.

Case studies are not intended as guidance on the safe conduct of operations, but rather to assist vessel managers, DP operators and DP technical crew in appropriately determining how to safely conduct their own operations. Any queries should be directed to IMCA at [email protected]. Members and non-members alike are welcome to contact IMCA if they have experienced DP events which can be shared anonymously with the DP industry.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.