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  Case Study
border
borderPILOT TAKES A RIDE
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borderLEADERSHIP & AUX BOILER FAILURE LED TO FIRE
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borderWAVES SNATCHED TWO SEAMEN|S LIVES
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borderFIRE ONBOARD L’ASTROLABE
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borderBRIDGE WATCHKEEPING SAFETY STUDY
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borderMV FAIZ LOST AT SEA
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borderTUG HITS GLOBAL PEACE
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borderCONTAINER VESSEL GROUNDED
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borderMV Cepheus And MV Ileksa Collision
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borderTSUNAMI IMPACT ON SHIPPING
.: Case Study :.
PILOT TAKES A RIDE


MV Desh Rakshak, a double hulled oil tanker, 114600 DWT, owned by Shipping Corporation of India , with a crew of 40 Indian nationals reached off Port Phillip on the morning of 4th Jan 2006. She was on an even keel with a static draught of 11.5 M. At about 0800 h, a pilot boarded the ship for the transit from sea to the Melbourne outer anchorage. After routine procedures, the pilot outlined his intention to enter to the west of the track marked by the main leading lights keeping the ship on the western side of the main channel for as long as possible and out of the tidal flow.

Permission to enter port and tide stats was obtained by the Pilot. He calculated that the ship’s under keel clearance would be no less than 3.5 M during the transit. There was a long low swell, the wind was from the same direction at 20 to 25 knots and the sea was choppy. The tidal stream was running at five to six knots, faster than the pilot had anticipated.

As the ship entered the Lonsdale Lighthouse red sector, with the lighthouse bearing 3250(T), the Pilot thought he could see the high and low main leading lights just open to the west. This indicated to him that the ship was on the western edge of the main channel. Whereas, the ship was further to the west than the Pilot thought. The ship continued the passage, anchored at about 1154 h and the Pilot disembarked. No one onboard observed anything that might have suggested that the ship had grounded during the pilotage. At about 1245 h, the Chief Mate discovered that the level in the lower fore peak water ballast tank was rising. On inspection, after pumping out the water, it revealed that the tank’s shell plating had been holed. The ship berthed at Geelong on 05 Jan 06 and temporary repairs were undertaken while the cargo was being discharged.

An independent investigation conducted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau observed, inter-alia, that:-
• The bridge team did not effectively use the echo sounder to monitor the depth of water under the ship’s bow.
• The ship’s under keel clearance was less than the bridge team had anticipated.
• The inadequate application of bridge resource management principles led to the ship’s bridge team having little effective input during the pilotage passage.

The extract from the investigation report is reproduced for enhancing the value of the findings therein. Jobships.com recommends seafarers to read the full text of the report to study the actual scenario, learn safety issues and for corrective steps.
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Posted On:8-Sep-2007

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LEADERSHIP & AUX BOILER FAILURE LED TO FIRE


Maersk Doha (UK Flag, 4507 TEU Container Carrier) sailed from Norfolk, Virginia to Miami in USA, after midnight on 2 October 2006. At 0030 an engine room alarm sounded indicating that pressure in the steam system was low. The crew investigated the cause of the alarm and discovered that steam was escaping from the auxiliary boiler air intake. They shut down the burner and opened the furnace door. Steam escaped, and when it had cleared they could see that the furnace tube was severely distorted and cracked. There was some delay before the Chief Engineer and subsequently the Master was informed about the breakdown. Although the vessel could have anchored safely to investigate the situation, it was agreed that the main engine could continue to run at low power, and the vessel proceeded to sea.

An Exhaust Gas Economiser (EGE) was fitted in the funnel uptakes to generate steam from the waste heat contained in the main engine exhaust gases, using water circulated from the auxiliary boiler. At about 0200, a rapid rise in the temperature of the EGE was noticed and the Chief Engineer realised that there was a fire inside the EGE casing. The bridge was alerted at 0230 and the vessel’s emergency alarm was activated. Radiant heat from the EGE ignited light fittings, cables and paint on bulkheads in the funnel uptakes, and the crew attempted to fight the fire with a water hose and a fire extinguisher. They were beaten back by the heat and smoke and the engine room was evacuated. The fire was contained using water hoses to cool the boundaries of EGE and was finally extinguished, following advice received from the company head office, by drenching the EGE with water from the top of the funnel and through doors in the EGE casing.

The Maritime Accident Investigation Bureau, UK (MAIB) investigated the accident. Their report indicated that the most likely cause of the fire was due to a malfunction of the auxiliary boiler control mechanism, which allowed the burner to keep firing with too little water in the boiler. This overheated the furnace, causing the distortion and cracking of the fire tube. As feed water was lost through the crack, the supply of water to the EGE failed, causing it to overheat. Soot deposits, which had accumulated within the EGE, then ignited. It is likely that temperatures in the EGE rose sufficiently high for hydrogen and iron fires to develop.

The crew, with the exception of the chief engineer, was from Eastern European countries. Despite meeting the requirements for gaining UK Certificates of Equivalent Competency, there was a tendency for the majority of the crew to revert to their shared native language. This had the effect of isolating the chief engineer and hindered his ability to understand and control the response to the emergency. The vessel had an extensive Quality and Safety Management System, but it lacked sufficient detail to assist the crew in dealing with either the machinery breakdown, or the subsequent fire. Further problems became evident during the emergency when other equipment did not work correctly.

Jobships.com recommends seafarers to read the detailed report, as this is a fit case for learning few lessons, as to what can go wrong if we are not alert and responsive. Following are the points to be ponder:

• Though the cause of the fire was detected at the initial stage of the voyage, all were in a hurry to sail out to the sea, to achieve the sailing schedule, assuming that the defect could be rectified as they sailed.
• In a multi-cultural environment, crew members mostly opted to communicate in local language.
• Casual response of the crew placed the vessel at increasing risk until a severe fire was inevitable.
• Limited interaction or lack of proper communication between deck and engineering departments is evident in this case and this placed the vessel at greater risk.
• The Chief Engineer could not communicate or the Master could not understand the seriousness of the EGE overheating. Chief Engineer allowed engine speed to increase in response to the Master’s orders.
• The Ship’s hierarchy was not being maintained. The Chief Engineer was friendly with his subordinates and his orders were taken lightly by them.
• No emergency response procedures were referred to, and those that were available were either unofficial or lacking in detail.

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Posted On:6-Sep-2007

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WAVES SNATCHED TWO SEAMEN|S LIVES


At about 1220 hrs (local time) on 11 November 2006, while outbound from Scapa Flow and transiting the Pentland Firth, the 74,065 dwt Singaporean flag Panamax Crude Oil Tanker, FR8 Venture, shipped two large waves over her bow. The vessel had a complement of 24, all of whom were Indian nationals. The waves also caused the death of two Seamen, serious injuries to another OS and minor damage to the ship.

From 10 to 11 November, FR8 Venture carried out a ship-to-ship transfer with another tanker, Perseverance, while at anchor in Scapa Flow, and loaded a full cargo of crude oil. FR8 Venture weighed anchor at about 1054 and the two pilots disembarked near the entrance to Scapa Flow at about 1136. The wind was west to west-north-west and near gale force, with waves of about 4 to 5m high. The ship’s freeboard was about 6.6m and spray was being shipped on board.

After weighing anchor, the Bosun and AB Harjivan Bhikhabhal Kharva (39) secured the port anchor, and began stowing three loose mooring lines down into the forward storeroom. AB Ravindra Shrirang Bagal (31) and an OS were stowing loose mooring lines away aft. At about 1210, the chief officer told AB Ravindra and the OS to go forward and help the Bosun. AB Ravindra joined AB Kharva on the starboard winch platform to lash canvas covers around the mooring wires. At about 1220, just as the OS turned towards the anchor cable, a large wave was shipped over the bow. The ship pitched into the following trough and then a second larger wave was shipped on board. The two ABs were swept aft, towards and under the flying bridge. The OS was swept aft and came into contact with a protection plate for the forward liferaft. The bosun had managed to cling onto the storeroom door when the first wave was shipped, and then onto the ladder rungs of the foremast as the second wave swept over the foredeck; he remained uninjured. The bridge team saw the seas being shipped on deck. The third officer released a manoverboard lifebuoy and smoke float from the bridge wing, and the general alarm was sounded, upon which the crew mustered at the emergency station. The OS managed to walk aft until he reached amidships, where he collapsed. All three injured men were taken to the accommodation.

FR8 Venture called Orkney Harbour Control to report the accident and to state that medical assistance would be needed. Orkney Harbour Control then informed Shetland Coastguard of the tanker’s emergency. The Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter was able to transfer a local Doctor to FR8 Venture. Once onboard the vessel, the Doctor determined that the ABs Harjivan and Ravindra died of their injuries and the OS should be taken to hospital. The helicopter returned to the ship, landed an Orkney Harbour pilot and airlifted the doctor and the OS to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. The ship returned to Scapa Flow and anchored there at about 1800.

The independent investigation carried out by the Maritime Accident Investigation Bureau, UK and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore identified the following safety issues:
• The two large waves that were shipped over the bow could not have been considered abnormal and should have been expected in the prevailing weather conditions.
• The master should have delayed the sailing so that the ship could have been secured for sea in sheltered waters.
• Having decided to leave the shelter of Scapa Flow before the foredecks were secured for sea, the master’s assessment of the position by which the crew should have been clear of the foredeck of the ship allowed little margin for error. This should have prompted an effective plan of action.
• The plan could have concentrated the crew forward earlier, leaving the stowing of the after ropes until the fore part of the vessel had been secured.
• The plan should have prompted the need for precautionary measures, such as considering the option of turning the ship away from the weather, when safe and practicable to do so, to secure the anchors.

Note: Most waves at sea are created by the wind, and their height depends on how long the wind has been blowing, the fetch, the currents and the wind strength. Swell is the wave motion which persists after a disturbance has passed to another area. Variations in wave height can occur, and it is not abnormal for a particular wave to be up to twice the significant wave height.

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Posted On:7-Aug-2007

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FIRE ONBOARD L’ASTROLABE


At about 0530 on 11 November 2006, a fire started in the engine room on board the Antarctic supply ship L’Astrolabe. The fire was fed by a spray of diesel fuel from a leak that had developed in the starboard main engine fuel system. The ship’s crew closed the remotely operated, fuel system quick closing valves, which shut down all of the main and auxiliary engines, isolated all ventilation to the engine room and then operated the engine room’s fixed fire extinguishing system. By 0620, the fire had been extinguished and the crew worked to restart the ship’s main and auxiliary engines.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) investigation found that the fire was caused by a leak of diesel fuel, probably in the form of a spray, from a temporary blanking arrangement on the starboard main engine. The fuel ignited when it came into contact with the hot surfaces of the starboard main engine. The report identifies a number of safety issues and issued one recommendation and three safety advisory notices.

Recommendations: The ship’s procedures for re-entry into the engine room after the operation of the FM-200 fire extinguishing system did not adequately consider the time required to cool the fire scene and did not provide the master with adequate guidance about when to safely re-enter the engine room, therefore, exposing the ship to the potential risk of re-ignition. The practice of re-opening the fuel service tank quick closing valve after the fire, without first isolating individual fuel circuits, exposed the ship to the risk of another fuel leak and possible re-ignition.

Safety Advisory Notice: The ATSB advises that the owners and operators of ships should consider the safety implications of the following safety issues and take action when considered appropriate.

(a) The absence of a discharge valve on the main fuel pump necessitated the fitting of blanks in the fuel system so that the engine could be run using the stand-by pump, while keeping the main pump depressurised.

(b) The fitting of gasket discs in an open ended cap to blank off a fuel pipe was ineffective for the task because the discs probably became looser due to the effect of pressure pulses within the fuel pipe, allowing fuel to spray into the engine room where it was ignited on the hot surfaces of the engine.

(c) Leaving fire doors open between the engine room and the fire control station exposed the ship to the risk that its fire control systems could be rendered inoperable by an engine room fire.

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Posted On:6-Aug-2007

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BRIDGE WATCHKEEPING SAFETY STUDY


The Marine Accidents Investigations Branch (MAIB), Southampton, UK had undertaken a study to establish the principal factors that cause the nautical accidents and published its report in July 2004. Jobships.com is reproducing the gist of this report for the benefit of Seafarers.

Background

652 Collisions & groundings and 995 near collisions involving merchant vessels during a span of ten years from 1994 to 2003 were reported to MAIB. Many of these accidents were subject of the study. The study’s overall objective is to produce arguments for change that will result in an improvement in the safety of marine operational practice.

Analysis

Twenty three vessels grounded, representing about 30% of the vessels included in the study. Eleven of them occurred between midnight and dawn, with the remainder evenly distributed throughout the rest of the day. Twelve vessels grounded with sole watchkeepers onboard. 92% of the vessels grounded had only two deck officers and all had three or fewer deck ratings. It has been brought out that, in many cases no look out was posted, the autopilot was engaged, a watch alarm was either not fitted or not used and the unaccompanied watchkeeper had fallen asleep.

Human alertness and performance tend to be at their lowest during the early hours of the morning. The human circadian rhythm is synchronized with the normal pattern of day time wakefulness and sleep at night. Adjustment of the rhythm can be achieved during exposure to consecutive night watches over a period of time, allowing the body clock to adapt to a cycle of work. This is impossible due to the responsibilities of pilotage, cargo operations, audits, inspections, correction of nautical charts/ publications and supervision & co-ordination of maintenance of deck fittings, machinery, fire fighting equipment etc. STCW 95 states that the hours of rest for seafarers shall not be less than 10 hours in any 24 hour period and 77 hours in any 7 day period. As per these norms, a Master and Chief Officer may get only one hour per day for them to fulfill the above responsibilities outside the bridge watchkeeping.

Conclusions

The study has confirmed that watchkeeper manning levels, fatigue and master’s ability to discharge his duties are major causal factors in collisions & groundings. Poor lookout has been cited as a major factor in collisions. The hours of work and lookout requirements contained in STCW 95, alongwith the principles of safe manning, are having insufficient impact in their respective areas.



Recommendations of MAIB

The MAIB has recommended the Maritime and Coastguard authorities to take the conclusions of this study to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for amending current legislation or to introduce new measures on:-

• The guidelines on safe manning to ensure that all merchant vessels over 500gt have a minimum of a master plus two bridge watchkeeping officers, unless specifically exempted for limited local operations as approved by the Administration.
• The requirements of STCW 95 to change the emphasis with respect to the provisions of a designated lookout to ensure that a lookout is provided on the bridge at all times, unless a positive decision is taken that, in view of daylight and good visibility, low traffic density and the vessel being well clear of navigational dangers, a sole watchkeeper would be able to fulfill the task.
• The requirements of STCW 95 so that a bridge lookout can be more effectively utilized as an integral part of the bridge team.

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Posted On:23-Nov-2006

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MV FAIZ LOST AT SEA


MV Faiz GRT 299, a cargo ship, went to flames on the fateful day of 31 May 2005 in the Bay of Bengal. The fierce fire that broke out seems to have prevented the crew from raising a distress signal or a radio message. The incidence occurred during night. The Indian Coast Guard pressed into action CGS Chandbibi, CGS Jijabai and one Dornier aircraft for the SAR operations. The Coast Guard located the ill-fated ship adrift on 02 June 2005, approximately 150 nm off Haldia Port. They found the charred bodies of Capt PP Shelly, his wife Smitha and children Lubin and Nidha onboard the gutted ship. Ten crew members, including one Deck Officer, have survived the mishap and an intensive search for Chief Officer Rajiv Lahiri was made.

The 53 Mtr long ship sailed out from Yangon to Kolkata on 27 May 2005 with 800 tonnes of pulses. From the statements of the survived crew, it is presumed that the fire broke out from one of the Cabins and engulfed the entire area within minutes. It is further guessed that the Chief Officer must have been around the bridge and while making an attempt to save the Captain and his family, got serious burns. Apparently, with the Captain and Chief Officer seriously injured, there was no one around to take charge of the situation and control the fire. The rest of the crew seems to have reached a conclusion that it is impossible for them to put out the fire and hence made their way out of the ship.

The Coast Guard brought the ten survivors to Haldia Port on 02 June 2005. Later the Coast Guard authorities informed that they believe that the ship sunk on 06 June 2005. They called back the Dornier aircraft deployed for the search of survivors on 07 June 2005 and said that they are suspending the SAR operations completely. The ship owners informed that they had sent two vessels MV Atif and MV Soleman to try and pull out the ship. While towing, the lines snapped and the ship overturned in the rough weather. A probe was ordered by the DG Shipping, India and the Mercantile Marine Department was directed to investigate the incident. On 09 June 2005, the Chief Minister of West Bengal informed that the Kolkata City Police will also investigate the catastrophe.

Now that over seventeen months have elapsed from the date of the incident. What went wrong on the fateful day of 31 May 2005 onboard MV Faiz? Did the crew apply their fire fighting skills? Was the fire fighting system and equipments in working order? Did a person in the chain of command failed to assume command? Was the contingency plan, rescue operations and ‘abandon ship’ procedures executed properly? How the towing lines of the recovery vessels snapped and what was the best way to do that? What lessons could be learned and what corrective action is to be taken to avoid recurrence or minimize casualties in such mishaps? The answers are still awaited!!

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Posted On:23-Nov-2006

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TUG HITS GLOBAL PEACE


On the evening of 24 Jan 2006 a Panama registered cape sized bulk carrier ‘Global Peace’ entered Gladstone harbour for transit to the Clinton Coal Terminal. The plan was for the ship to berth at Clinton with the assistance of three harbour tugs. As the ship was approaching the berth, the pilot ordered all the three tugs to stop pushing and to lay alongside. The master of the aft tug ‘Tom Tough’ laid the tug alongside the ship, with the tug at an angle of about 15 degrees to the ship’s side. The tug’s bow was in line with the front of the ship’s accommodation.

At about 2354 h, Tom Tough’s starboard main engine unexpectedly shutdown, and the tug’s stern swirled sharply to starboard. The tug’s starboard quarter made heavy contact with Global Peace, puncturing her shell plating, in way of the port heavy fuel tank. Oil immediately began to flow into the harbour.

The Ship’s crew could not mount an immediate clean up response because they were engaged in berthing operations. From the Master’s investigations, he observed that the port deep fuel oil tank had been holed. At 0005 h on 25 January, he telephoned the engine room and directed Chief Engineer to transfer fuel oil remaining in the port deep fuel oil tank to the number five double bottom fuel tank. Consequently, transfer started and spillage into the harbour stopped at about 0040 h.

The investigation found that a crack in the tug’s starboard main engine clutch oil discharge pipe resulted in the system being emptied of oil. The resultant loss of system pressure activated the engine shutdown. The clutch oil pump discharge pipe fitted to the port main engine was replaced in February 2002 due to failure. But the towage company had overlooked the possibility of similar fatigue related failure to the starboard engine.

The independent investigation conducted by Australian Transport Safety Bureau on this collision has identified a number of contributing factors and made recommendations to address them. In professional interest, seafarers are exhorted to read the full text of the report by clicking on the link (Read More) given below.

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Posted On:14-Sep-2006

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CONTAINER VESSEL GROUNDED


On 09 Dec 2005, the 15,145 GT Bermuda registered container vessel CP Valour grounded in a bay off the NW coast of the island of Faial, Azores. The vessel had been on a liner voyage from Montreal, Canada to Valncia, Spain. One of her main engine cylinder units was found to be overheating due to a cooling water leak. A cylinder head needed to be lifted and calm water was essential to tackle the situation. The Master and Chief Engineer decided to head for a bay on Faial Island which, they assessed, would be sheltered from a heavy south westerly swell. The Master discussed the proposed action with the Managers, who in turn apprised the owners and gained their permission.

The bay contained a chartered designated anchorage, but the largest scale British Admiralty chart of the island was of 1:175,000 scale, which is not considered suitable for close inshore navigation. The only charted depth in the bay was a single sounding of 36 meters. The Master took on too much on himself as he navigated the vessel, monitored the echo sounder and became overloaded. He was given little help by the OOW. The vessel grounded at a speed of 6 knots. The engine telegraph had been inadvertently left on half ahead for several minutes.

The initial salvage attempts by a harbour tug were unsuccessful. The next day, the vessel was further driven aground as the wind veered to blow directly into the bay. The 1172 MT of heavy fuel oil and 118 MT of gas oil onboard began leaking. Further salvage operations failed and the vessel was abandoned on 25 Dec 2005.

Lessons Learnt

Though the ship’s ISM system contained comprehensive operating procedures and the Master and OOW had attended in-house bridge team management training, the procedures were not put into practice. Team work is essential on the bridge – individuals easily become overloaded and make mistakes.

Owners and Managers need to ensure that the good practice demanded in their ISM is always implemented at sea.


The full repot on the accident, investigation and recommendations by Marine Accident Investigation Branch, UK (MAIB) is available at their website. Seafarers are advised to read the full report and the link is given below.

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Posted On:12-Sep-2006

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MV Cepheus And MV Ileksa Collision


On 22 Nov 2004, the 6454 GT UK registered container ship Cepheus J and the 4955 GT Maltese registered general cargo ship Ileksa were transiting IMO recommended routes off the Danish Coast, at 16 knots and 6.5 knots respectively. The two ships collided, with Cepheus’s bow striking the stern of Ileksa. The impact caused severe damage to Ileksa’s stern and holed Cepheus above the waterline. The accident was investigated by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the Malta Maritime Authority, as a joint investigation under the IMO’s code for the investigation of marine casualties and incidents. The safety issues brought out by MAIB are given below, in brief.

• The lookout on the bridge of Cepheus J had been sent to carry out cleaning duties elsewhere on the ship.
• OOW onboard Cepheus J was involved in tasks that distracted him from his primary duty of lookout.
• The watchkeeping arrangement in place on Cepheus J at the time of the collision, took no account of the advice contained in Maritime Notices.
• Cepheus J was not keeping a look out. This meant that the presence of LLeksa was not detected, so no avoiding action was taken.
• Given the prevailing weather conditions, Ilksa should have initiated action earlier, once it became clear that Cepheus J was taking no action.
• In an IMO recommended route, the Navigator should have foreseen other ships on the route and hence a heightened lookout should have been maintained.
• Cepheus J’s OOW was not using the integrated bridge equipment, with which he was provided, to its best effect.
• Ileksa could have used signals permitted in the COLREGS which might have attracted Cepheus J’s attention in sufficient time to have allowed action to be taken to avoid collision.

This case is another classic example of look out importance. Seafarers are advised to browse the full report of the investigation.


- By jobships.com
Posted on 26 June 2006

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Posted On:26-Jun-2006

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TSUNAMI IMPACT ON SHIPPING


On 26 December 2004, a powerful earthquake measuring 8.9 on Richter scale hit Asia, unleashing Tsunami waves on coastal areas of India, Sri-Lanka, Indonesia & Thailand. The reports on major and minor casualties that occurred on the coast of India were thoroughly examined by the Dte of Shipping,
Govt of India. The examinations were aimed at determining the root cause of the casualty and prescribe preventive and
corrective measures to avert similar casualties in future. Based on the findings, the Nautical Adviser to the Govt of
India has given several directives for strict compliance by Flag State/ Class Surveyors, Ship Owners, Ship Managers,
Ship Agents, Training Institutes, Workshops, Masters and Seafarers. Few of them are enumerated below:-
Formulate Crisis & Disaster Management Plan for the ports and carry out periodic drills.
Port and audit authorities to monitor emergency preparedness during their visit onboard.
Port Officials to undergo safety related training at MTIs approved by DG Shipping.
Ports to update storm warning systems. 'Knowledge and understanding of Tsunami' to
be included in the syllabus for pre-sea, preparatory and re-validation courses
for Indian Seafarers.

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Posted On:23-Aug-2005

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