MAIB: Ferry Hit Pier, Grounded due to Loss of Control

Wikimedia Commons/Towel401 under public domain licenseImage Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Fabian318 under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

The ferry Pride of Kent struck a jetty and then grounded while departing Calais, France, in December 2017 amid loss of control.

According to a report by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, control of the ferry during the turn towards the harbour entrance was lost due to the fast rate of turn, strong gale-force winds, use of full rudder and propeller pitch, and the tripping of one of the ferry’s bow thrusters.

The UK-registered vessel was refloated later that day and subsequently moved to a berth where the passengers disembarked. The ferry’s starboard propeller and tail-shaft were damaged and required repair in dry dock. The jetty was also damaged. There were no injuries to crew or passengers and no pollution.

MAIB informed that the omission of a departure briefing to the bridge team contributed to the master not being fully supported, and the helm not being closely monitored. Additionally, the occasional tripping of bow thrusters and reduced engine speed and shaft speeds were associated with fuel pump issues experienced following a change to ultra-low sulphur fuel.

Following the incident, the ship’s operator, P&O Ferries, has developed a simulator-based programme of training for masters to include, among other things, machinery failures and emergencies.

The company also highlighted to its fleet the requirement for effective bridge team briefings, contingency plans, and allowances for deficiencies in vessel performance, amended its fleet regulations with regard to bridge resource management and tug requirements, and reverted to the use of MGO on board Pride of Kent pending assessment of the problems associated with ULSFO.

Furthermore, P&O Ferries introduced a procedure to monitor the performance of its bridge teams with a focus on bridge resource management, including the effectiveness of helmsman training, taking into account the value of onboard assessments. Finally, the company developed and implemented a plan for monitoring and assessing the impact of ultra-low sulphur fuel on the reliability and performance of Pride of Kent’s propulsion should it be re-introduced in the future.

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