At 1840 on 20 December 2013, the 93m chemical tanker Key Bora made heavy contact with the western approach jetty at Alexandra Dock, Hull. The vessel’s CPP system had a history of responding slowly to demands for astern pitch, and did not respond in time to the pilot’s order of full astern to prevent the bow striking the quay. The bulbous bow was holed above the waterline.
The MAIB investigation identified that:
The pilot was aware of the vessel’s poor astern response but did not test the engine prior to manoeuvring.
The master was unaware of the function of the CPP backup control system which could have been used to bring the situation under control.
The crew at the anchor station had difficulty hearing the master’s order to drop the anchor over the hand-held UHF radio.
Fault finding and assessment of the CPP system performance was hampered by the lack of installation records against which to judge the system’s response.
The port authority, ABP, has taken steps to ensure that astern propulsion is tested and ready for use before departure or arrival from any berth, regardless of the vessel’s size. The vessel’s manager, V.Ships, has been recommended to investigate and rectify the anomaly with the CPP system on Key Bora and to include in its safety management system a requirement for bridge watchkeeping officers to familiarise themselves with the emergency backup control of their CPP system.
Following a recommendation from the chief inspector, BV has requested IACS to include response times in its forthcoming unified requirement for commissioning trials on CPP systems.