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Joystick controls

We have received the following information from one of our members, where that member’s vessel suffered a loss of joystick control for no apparent reason, whilst working alongside a rig with a bulk hose connected.

The joystick manufacturer’s engineer visited the vessel, as soon as it returned to port and thoroughly checked out the joystick panel, finding no reason for the failure in the process. Current thinking is that a radio signal caused the control failure. This is not an unknown effect, as another of their vessels found that transmissions from a small UVF portable radio caused the same type of failure. When the portable radio’s aerial was removed, the effect disappeared. Portable telephones are also known to have similar effects on the control equipment.

The member advised that persons should be aware of this potential problem and that, when working alongside an installation, a quick, clean changeover to manual control can be affected before the vessel loses position, should a similar incident occur. They advise that it would also be prudent to practise regular changeover drills, from joystick to manual, if anyone does not already include this as part of a ship’s regular, emergency exercises. The problem does not appear to be specific to any single manufacturer, so they advise that everyone should be made aware of this problem.

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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.