The bulk carrier SBI Carioca grounded in October 2017 due to ineffective communication and conflicting information, according to a report released by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).
Namely, conflicting information about the location of a pilot boarding station and lack of communication between the pilot and the bridge team were behind the grounding incident which occurred near the Port of Belledune in Chaleur Bay, New Brunswick.
On 11 October 2017, while approaching the port, SBI Carioca reached a nearby boarding station to meet the pilot responsible for guiding it to its destination pier. After the boarding got delayed by a few minutes, the pilot was on the bridge and, following a brief exchange of information with the master, initiated a series of manoeuvres to reposition the vessel for its approach to the pier.
The vessel subsequently ran aground within the 10-metre depth contour near the port. With no sign of damage nor pollution, and no injuries to the 23 people on board, the vessel was refloated on the next high tide with the assistance of two tugboats.
The investigation determined that the absence of clear, published information about the position of the Port of Belledune’s pilot boarding station contributed to the vessel being closer to the pier than was practical for a safe approach when the pilot boarded the SBI Carioca.
TSB also found that the pilot navigated the vessel using only visual references and did not request or receive feedback from the bridge team. Moreover, if formal passage plans are not devised and shared among bridge team members, there is a risk that members will be unable to effectively monitor the vessel’s track and progress.
Following this occurrence and at the request of the Atlantic Port Authority, a pilot boarding station symbol was added to Canadian Hydrographic Services charts. The TSB advised the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office to prompt them to update their respective sailing directions.