The ‘A’ rated 170 million GT North P&I Club has just published a new guide to help ships’ bridge teams avoid the mistakes which lead to hitting rocks, docks and other fixed or floating objects (FFO). Collectively known as ‘admiralty’ incidents, they tend to result in the most expensive insurance claims against P&I clubs.
During the 2013/14 policy year, North experienced its two largest claims ever and both were admiralty related. One involved the grounding of bulk carrier Smart in South Africa in August 2013, while the other resulted from tanker Wu Yi San contacting an oil terminal in South Korea in January 2014. Potential liabilities for the two claims are estimated to be over US$100 million.
North’s deputy director of loss prevention Colin Gillespie says, ‘Vessels running aground or contacting objects other than ships are among the most high profile and costly of all maritime accidents. The cost in both personal and financial terms has increased in recent years. Human error, in various guises, is the most common causal factor.’
Entitled ‘Rocks and Hard Places: How to Avoid Them’, the new guide is designed to bring to the attention of bridge teams the key contributory factors of groundings and FFO incidents and to stimulate thought by, and discussion between, members of the bridge team, on how risks can be minimised through following good practice.
Gillespie says that ships’ navigational systems and on-board procedures for voyage planning, bridge team management and watch keeping are designed to reduce the risk of admiralty incidents. ‘All are interdependent, and it is when these systems and procedures start to break down that incidents occur, ’ he says.
The guide focuses on the importance of planning and monitoring a voyage, navigating with a pilot on board, bridge team communications, situational awareness, fatigue, speed and angle of approach, and weather conditions. Real-life case studies are included to provide examples of poor practice and a starting point for wide-ranging discussions.
Copies of the guide are being circulated to all North’s members and entered ships. Non-members can buy them, along with all of North’s other loss-prevention publications, from marine bookshops or directly from the club’s distributor Anchorage Press, www.anchoragepress.co.uk.