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Divers work aboard the Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej which collided with the British cargo ship Scot Carrier between Ystad and Bornholm, on the Baltic Sea December 13, 2021. Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency/via REUTERS

Divers work aboard the Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej which collided with the British cargo ship Scot Carrier between Ystad and Bornholm, on the Baltic Sea December 13, 2021. Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency/via REUTERS

UK Issues Investigation Report on Fatal ‘Scot Carrier’ Collision in Baltic Sea

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 6859
September 11, 2023

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has issued its report into the fatal collision involving the UK-flagged general cargo Scot Carrier and split hopper barge in the Baltic Sea.

The collision took place early on December 13, 2021, in the precautionary area adjacent to the Bornholmsgat traffic separation scheme off the south coast of Sweden, resulting in the loss of two crew members from the Karin Høj barge.

According to the report, neither watchkeeper on the two vessels reacted to the developing situation or took action in time to prevent the collision. The report further finds that Scot Carrier’s watchkeeper changed course without determining if it was safe to do so. No lookouts were posted on either vessel, and Scot Carrier’s watchkeeper was distracted by the use of a personal tablet computer. It is also found that Scot Carrier’s watchkeeper may have been under the influence of alcohol.

The British watchkeeper of the Scot Carrier was arrested and later pleaded guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison.

The British cargo ship Scot Carrier is pictured  after colliding with the Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej, between Ystad and Bornholm, on the Baltic Sea December 13, 2021. Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency/via REUTERS
The British cargo ship Scot Carrier is pictured after colliding with the Danish cargo ship Karin Hoej, between Ystad and Bornholm, on the Baltic Sea December 13, 2021. Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency/via REUTERS

The MAIB made recommendations to Scot Carrier’s ship management company to review the results of its navigational audits to determine additional training and instruction needs. Karin Høj’s owners have also been recommended to actively monitor its crewing levels to ensure adequate staffing at all times. Additionally, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been recommended to advise the shipping industry that posting a lookout in addition to a bridge watchkeeper during the hours of darkness and restricted visibility is an absolute requirement in UK waters and on UK ships.

The report emphasizes the importance of posting an additional lookout on the bridge as a safety measure for navigation, and highlights the dangers of distraction from watchkeeping duties. It also recommends that shipping companies empower their crews to make the right decisions and have effective methods of ensuring that an additional lookout is posted at night and in poor visibility.

“International requirements are clear that posting an additional person on the bridge as a dedicated lookout is vital to safe navigation. However, this investigation is one of many that have found that the watchkeepers were alone on the bridge at night,” said MAIB Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, Andrew Moll OBE.

“The report makes a recommendation to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to clarify to the shipping industry that posting an additional lookout at night and in restricted visibility is a regulatory requirement on UK ships, and all ships in UK waters,” he adds.

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