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MAIB: Grounding of general cargo vessel Kaami

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published Accident Investigation Report 7/2021 into the running aground of a cargo vessel in March 2020.

What happened

The general cargo vessel Kaami ran aground on a shoal in the Little Minch, on the west coast of Scotland.  The crew were safely evacuated and the vessel was later refloated by salvors.  There were no injuries or pollution but the vessel was declared a constructive total loss and was later scrapped.

What went wrong?

The MAIB investigation found that the crew’s voyage planning procedures and passage monitoring did not identify the grounding hazard presented by the shoal, even after verbal warning from a local fishing boat. (IMCA emphasis).

More specifically:

  • Training was not adequate: mandatory generic and type-specific training for the electronic chart display and information (ECDIS) system were not successful in providing the crew with the skills and knowledge necessary to use the vessel’s ECDIS safely;
  • Although the vessel was crewed in accordance with Flag State requirements, the on-board operation did not allow adequate opportunity for the chief officer to plan the voyage and for his plan to be checked and verified by a second member of the bridge team – as was required by the vessel’s safety management system;
  • The safety management system did not provide adequate safeguards for voyage planning and ECDIS use, and the vessel operator’s internal auditing program did not identify shortfalls in voyage planning and ECDIS use.

Lessons learned

Following the accident, actions have been taken by the ship’s managers as well as the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). The recommendations to the ship’s managers were:

  • To review the number of watchkeepers on its vessels with the aim of minimising the hazards associated with fatigue;
  • To improve the guidance given in its safety management systems on the effective use of ECDIS and of bridge lookouts and,
  •  To enhance company ability to conduct internal navigation audits.

An Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) is a computer-based navigation system that complies with IMO regulations and can be used as an alternative to paper navigation charts. Integrating a variety of real-time information, it is an automated decision aid capable of continuously determining a vessel’s position in relation to land, charted objects, navigation aids and unseen hazards.

Members may wish to refer to:

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