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Photo shows damage to the BBC Marmara's bow while in dry dock. Photo courtesy MAIB

Photo shows damage to the BBC Marmara's bow while in dry dock. Photo courtesy MAIB

BBC Marmara Grounding: Investigation Report Reveals Alcohol Consumption as Contributing Factor

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 5484
December 1, 2023

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch has released its accident investigation report on the grounding of the cargo vessel BBC Marmara. The incident occurred on 25th July 2021 when the vessel ran aground on the island of Eilean Trodday in the Little Minch, Scotland. The ship was en route from Foynes, Republic of Ireland to Scrabster, Scotland.

Following the grounding, the vessel was successfully refloated and proceeded to the port of Stornoway. A subsequent dive inspection revealed significant damage to the hull, including penetration of the bow thruster space and forepeak tanks. BBC Marmara was granted permission to sail to Scrabster to offload cargo before heading to a dry dock in Poland for repairs.

The investigation report identified several safety issues that played a role in the incident. The absence of safety measures, such as a lookout and the Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm System (BNWAS), resulted in the vessel deviating from its intended course when the watchkeeper fell asleep, ultimately leading to the grounding. It was also revealed that the watchkeeper, who was alone on the bridge at the time, had consumed alcohol (both Jägermeister and beer) prior to and at the start of their watch. The report also pointed out a lack of responsibility at all levels of management aboard the vessel.

Additionally, it was found that the vessel traffic management operator became distracted, as they lacked training and processes to manage potential distractions.

The investigation report made recommendations to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to enhance cognitive performance knowledge and planning. Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co. KG, the ship’s operator, also received recommendations to ensure a lookout is present on the bridge during darkness and to implement management assurance tools for effective safety management.

The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining safety measures and responsible behavior in maritime operations. It is hoped that the recommendations from the investigation will lead to improved safety practices and prevent similar incidents in the future.

The MAIB produced a safety flyer to the shipping industry with the report to summarize common themes from MAIB investigations where navigational safeguards had been circumvented.

The accident investigation report can be found here.

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