The ineffective visual navigation led to the grounding of the 39,000 dwt bulk carrier Atlantic Erie, which occurred on January 11, 2015 in Îles de la Madeleine, Quebec, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) reported.
TSB conducted an investigation into the incident revealing that the bridge team used buoys as the primary method for navigating and did not use all available navigational equipment to verify and monitor the vessel’s position.
Because the prevailing environmental conditions affected the accuracy of the buoys’ charted positions, the team lost awareness of the vessel’s actual position within the navigation channel, the report showed.
Furthermore, the bridge team was also used an outdated electronic chart which no longer accurately displayed the channel or buoy positions.
According to TSB, this likely led the master to initiate a turn in the channel later than intended, resulting in not having enough sea room to complete the manoeuvre and the vessel running aground.
The safety management system on the Atlantic Erie set out requirements for passage planning and included a standard passage planning template and checklists as tools to help mitigate the risks of navigational errors.
“Although a passage plan had been developed for the occurrence voyage, it was missing certain information. Further, several steps to ensure safe navigation had not been done despite being marked as complete on the checklist,” TSB said.
Following the incident, the vessel’s owner Canada Steamship Lines equipped the entire fleet with new electronic charts, provided Human Element Leadership Management (HELM) training to several masters, chief officers, chief and second engineers, and committed to delivering the training to all senior officers in the fleet by winter 2016.
The 1985-built bulker ran aground southeast of the Havre de la Grande Entrée outer channel while outbound from Mines Seleine in Îles de la Madeleine, Quebec.
Atlantic Erie was partially off-loaded, deballasted, and refloated with the assistance of tugs on January 14, 2015.
There were no injuries or pollution, but the vessel sustained damage.