I read the report and the Maritime Executive article posted this morning. Maritime Executive titled their article “over confidence contributed to mega-ship grounding.” The MAIB put most of the blame on improper use of ECDIS, which has become the standard as of late IMHO.
My take is that the pilots in Southampton are some of the most cautious and well prepared I’ve worked with. The lead pilot miscalculated the effect of the westerly wind on the extreme sail area of such a large container ship as well as the exact time of the tide. Once the rate of turn couldn’t be maintained, he knew it was game over. The turn at the brambles into thorn channel is very sharp and not surprisingly, the thought of the ship simply being too big for the port never came up in the report. Instead it comes back, as it always does, to lack of training and insufficient use of alarms on the ECDIS. I just don’t see where an alarm going off would have stopped this from happening. I think this is getting more and more common as they try to shoehorn these “mega-ships” into ports that want the business but probably shouldn’t be attempting it in the first place.
This sort of building bigger and bigger happened with tankers in the past. Apparently history is repeating itself in container shipping. These groundings are going to continue to happen.