Bad Seamanship: Is that so? Article by Nippin Anand

Bad Seamanship: Is that so? by Nippin Anand

Good article about the Hoegh Osaka incident leaving Southampton. - MAIB report is here

For the most part I can very much see how a ship in a case like this could leave port with insufficient stability The pace of operations on a PCC/PCTC is intense. It’s takes a lot of careful planning to ensure everything goes smooth. Even then at the end of a high tempo coastwise things feel like they are unravelling. Throw in a schedule change and most of your planning is out the window.

From the article:

Car carriers follow an extremely tight schedule, with very short turnaround times. Port rotation and scheduling is planned weeks in advance and the pressure to maintain the voyage itinerary is enormous.

But one thing I couldn’t understand is how the 7 degree list the ship took when the stern ramp was raised didn’t warn the crew that something was wrong. Normally the ship goes over about 1 degree or so when the ramp (150 tons) is raised.

The answer is the paradox of good seamanship. The mate likely figured he had the skills required to fix the problem on the fly. Same way almost all other problems are corrected.

This is from the article:

On the Hoegh Osaka, the excessive list became visible only 30 minutes before departure when the stern ramp was being lifted. By this time the pilot had already boarded the vessel. It should be noted that the vessel was already running behind schedule when it arrived at Southampton and further delays may have done more commercial damage beyond just port charges – it could have disrupted the planning for subsequent port calls in Europe. For a master who had been with the company for less than three weeks this may not have been an easy situation to face.

But what about the C/M? Why didn’t he warn the captain. But the C/M likely thought he would be able to fix the problem by transferring ballast. And those ships have big ballast capacity and powerful ballast pumps. Given a few more minutes likely the C/M would have succeeded.

The Osaka was being run close to the edge, but a lot of ships are. Most just never cross that line.