Skip to content

Human Factor Caused a DP Undesired Event

Comments from the report:

The report detailed that there was a “bug” in DP-A station. To resolve the issue DP-A and B as well as MTC stations were stopped at the same time, so to avoid the restarting station copying corrupted information from an online controller affected by the bug. The report highlighted that there had been no regular software updates executed and the equipment was getting older with more frequent reboots while in operation.

Considerations of the IMCA Marine DP Committee from the above event:

This event highlights the need to ensure a robust management of change process around software and software updates. The event report did not highlight the use of activity specific operating guidelines nor any change to DP status during the incident. Although not detailed in the report, the DP committee questioned the use of manual thruster control instead of Independent Joystick mode which may have aided station keeping during investigation works. Although not related to the event the number of references seems inadequate. IMO MSC Circ 645 and IMO MSC.1 Circ 1580 guidance documents state that for DP 2  or 3 operations:

  • There is a requirement for 3 sensors serving the same principles when the vessel is fully dependant on these signals (eg, 3 gyros)
  • There is a requirement for 3 independent position references simultaneously available during operation based on two different principles.

Again, although not related to the event, the report notes that the vessel operates “closed bus”. Reference can be made to IMCA M 166  Guidance on Failure Modes & Effects Analyses (FMEAs) for failure considerations related to closed bus operations.

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.