The Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board (DMAIB) published a Marine accident report on MÃ¦rsk Battler’s loss of tow and the foundering of MÃ¦rsk Searcher and MÃ¦rsk Shipper in the Bay of Biscay on the night between 21 and 22December 2016. MÃ¦rsk Searcher and MÃ¦rsk Shipper were configured in a side-by-side towing setup. During the passage, the fenders between the vessels on tow failed, and the vessels started to interact. This caused damage to the superstructure, which eventually compromised the watertight integrity of MÃ¦rsk Searcher and led to water ingress. She capsized and sank, and subsequently MÃ¦rsk Shipper was pulled under also. The crew of the towing vessel MÃ¦rsk Battler carried out a controlled breakage of the towing wire and came loose of the foundered towage.
The DMAIB regards the foundering of the two vessels as
â€¦ a systemic accident. This means that local and technical circumstances unfolding on board MÃ¦rsk Battler during the voyage cannot be isolated from the preceding organisational events and circumstances taking place months earlier. Thus, the investigation of the foundering of MÃ¦rsk Searcher and MÃ¦rsk Shipper is two-fold. It focuses on the technical circumstances leading to the foundering of the two ships and on the organisational circumstances facilitating these technical circumstances.
It is concluded in the report that the loss of fenders, collision and flooding of the unmanned ships under tow had been addressed in the risk assessment carried out, and that risk mitigating initiatives were in place for each risk item. However, these initiatives were ineffective. The DMAIB concludes that the risk mitigating strategies were mainly focused on preventing risk factors in isolation and left little or no contingency for acute interaction between the risk factors.
A full marine accident report has been prepared in English and is available at dmaib.com.
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