Two Maersk Supply Vessels Sink En Route to Scrapyard


Have look at the gear they have on the Battler. They have storage reels enough to store anything you need and stoppers to rig up safely.
As can be seen, the vessel was more than amply supplied with winch capacity and Towing/Anchor handling equipment:

Winch Make - Brattvaag
Winch Type - Waterfall
Drums - 3 (with spooling device)
AH drum Max. pull - 500 ts and 625 ts static brake
Drum Capacity - 5,850 m x 84 mm wire
Towing drums - 2 x max. pull 400 ts and 575 ts static brake
Capacity of each drum - 2,610 m x 84 mm wire
Secondary (Storage) winches - 2 x 170 ts (Mærsk Battler)
Chain lockers - 2 x 201 m3 and 2 x 179 m3
Guide pins - 2 x 300 ts Triplex
Shark jaws - 2 x 700 ts Triplex
Stern roller - 2 x 3.25 m x 4.00 m. [/quote]


They used a “Peter Principle” employee to make the decision.


The thing that I see missing in the whole process/ risk assesssment is the lack of any limiting seastate for the tow. Maybe it was included in the Towing Procedures but it is not mentioned during the Danish investigation report. The passage through the North Sea and the English Channel passed without any significant damage maybe because of calm weather although it was December time and the weather can change within 6 hours. The weather forecast for the tow across the Bay of Biscay and down the Portuguese coast as far as Gibralter must have been a significant factor especially in December and either the Tow Procedure or the Risk Asssessment would / should have specified safe havens in the event of adverse weather forecasts.
After Gibralter the relatively calm waters of the Mediterranean would have been no problem.I think the whole procedure would have been handled differently if it had been expensive equipment on a barge for example rather than two vessels on their way to the scrap yard if only because the equipment owners would have involved independant Warranty Surveyors.


Maersk is known as a company who are VERY safety or HSE conscious, no matter if it is the Supply, Drilling, Oil or Shipping arm. They have been known for being too much erring on the side of safety, until now anyhow.
If you are looking for anybody applying the “Peter Principle” to operations, you have to look closer to home and the “good ol’ boys” of the bayous.

All this reminded me that back in 2008 the Maersk Battler towed the Semisub “M.G.Hume Jr.” from Nigeria to Singapore for repairs and upgrading, before continuing on to Japan.
The MWS that attended in Nigeria set a limit of 150 m.t. BP for the first leg due to the tow bridle capacity.

When the rig was ready to proceed I attended as MWS to approve the continuing voyage. During the pre-tow inspection I found that they had renewed the towing arrangement on the rig to 250 m.t capacity, but could not document the Smit bracket capacity. I issued a recommendation to either produce a valid certificate, or Engineering calculation showing ultimate yield of the brackets and underlying structure.

On final inspection, I found that nothing of the sort had been done, so I restricted the BP to 150 m.t. for the rest of the voyage as well. Off they went with expensive new towing equipment, but same old restriction on the CofA.

Did the Battler actually follow the recommendation? I don’t know, or care.
But they were equipped with a calibrated load cell with an alarm and recorder on the winch. If they did not adhere to the recommendations and something had gone wrong on the voyage they would have to produce the records.

Would the Insurance Company have honoured any claim if they had deliberately exceeded the limitation?? I don’t know. No skin off my back. That is how it works in the real world of Warranty Survey and Insurance. CYA.

Why was there no MWS for the tow of these two vessels? Probably because the new Owner did not want to pay the cost involved, or the Underwriters did not require it.


What this proves more is that the “get 'er done” mentality that puts some creative wishful thinking into the various risk analysis tools that many have is equal opportunity. It’s “equal opportunity” regardless of nationality, gender, background, license credentials, training, experience, or education. This is just one more example of what some regard as a well ran company with a decent safety record doing a bone headed move that leaves many scratching their head trying to figure out what, if anything, somebody was thinking that could bring this about.


I have a lot of respect for Maersk, if I wasn’t an American I would be working for them. The bottom line is that somebody made a stupid decision and yes the Peter Principle applies to Maersk just like the Bayou boys.


“Sailor friendly” ships and a good company to work for IMHO.


Yes Maersk is a good company to work for and a hard company to deal with as a 3rd Party Surveyor or supplier of services. They keep strict discipline, but treat their people well, or at least that is my experience over the more than 40 years experience with Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply.

I don’t know why being an American should be a hindrance from working for Maersk? They have many American employees, mainly in their US Shipping and Port Operations, but nationality is not an issue with any other branch of the A.P.Moeller Maersk Group to my knowledge.

Back in the mid-1970’s Maersk Drilling bought an American Drilling Contractor called Atlantic Pacific Marine (APM) that owned some small swap barges and submersibles. At the same time they owned a company called Aquamarine, which operated two Drill Tenders in Brunei and a few jackups in the North Sea.

When they build some new jackups in Singapore they took people from all those different operations to man them, resulting in all kinds of problems due to the difference in the way people were treated. Those hired from the Danish side continued to receive the same good treatment as in the North Sea, regardless of nationality. The people from APM were on “bayou terms” and the Aquamarine people somewhere in between. Although pay scale was equalized, other conditions were not, causing frictions between the crews.
The Copenhagen office eventually took charge and put all on same terms, with same good treatment that Maersk is known for.


It appears that not everybody posting about this event has read the report by the Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board. It can be found here:ÆRSKBATTLER'slossoftowandthefounderingofMÆRSKSEARCHERandMÆRSKSHIPPR.aspx


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

"Tug lost control of Transocean Winner in storm

UK report finds passage near Scottish coast left little margin for error.

September 7th, 2017 12:54 GMT

by Gary Dixon

Published in Casualties

A UK accident report has revealed how a tug lost control of the semi-submersible rig Transocean Winner in severe weather off the Scottish coast last year.

The Maritime Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said the passage of the ship and the platform close to the shore left little room for error.

Transocean Winner grounded on 8 August on the Isle of Lewis while under tow by the 3,200-dwt tug ALP Forward (built 2008).

It was heading from Stavanger, Norway, to Valletta in Malta.

The effect of the wind and waves on Transocean Winner led to the loss of ALP Forward’s ability to control the direction and speed of the tug and tow, MAIB said.

After being dragged backwards by the tow for over 24 hours, the tow line, weakened by the repeated sudden loadings, parted and the tug was unable to pick up the emergency towline, it added.

Tug owner ALP Maritime Services has been recommended to review its towing manuals to ensure crews have all necessary information, including tow-specific guidance on the need to consider sea room and lee shores during passage planning.

“Without the necessary information, it was not possible for the master to predict the tug’s inability to hold the rig and change his passage plan in time to seek shelter,” MAIB said.

“The planning of a passage so close to the coast left little sea room for the tug and tow to drift. When ALP Forward lost control of the tug and tow, it was very likely that Transocean Winner would have grounded even if the tow line had not parted.”

The report said the tow line was in a generally poor condition and there was insufficient slack, leading to repeated sudden loadings.

But it added: “It is quite possible that a new tow line would have also parted under the same circumstances and conditions.”


I thought the Dutch we supposed to be the world’s Grand Masters of towing? Some dumb American must have infiltrated their prestigious company!!!


The Duchies ARE the best at towing, but that doesn’t mean every one of them, just like not ALL Americans are dumb.




Actually the infiltration is by TK, a Canadian company:


Trolls are actual and looks like this:
You image must be of an American Troll I presume??

The true story of Troll and Hulder:


Back to the subject finally.
DIMAB has released the investigation report re; the tow and sinking of the Maersk Searcher and Shipper:


To get to the point: bullshit safety paperwork and processes were improperly used as a “better” substitute for experience, skill and common sense.


Why should they need one? Weren’t there plenty of sensible people that Maersk fired right before this happened?


Risk “management” is, as we see here, is often an excuse to overrule risk aversion.



Maersk Supply Service, like all others in the business, has laid off a lot of cleaver and knowledgeable people during the down turn, but they still had and have many left, both on the boats and in the operation staff. It is hard for me to understand how they could have gotten themselves into this mess.

PS> There were also a Marine Warranty Survey company who’s Engineers and Naval Arch approved all calculation and the Towage Plan andan attending MWS Mariner at departure to ensure that everything was “done by the book”. (Which it probably was, only that the book wasn’t right)

I don’t have any inside knowledge of this incident, or of the MWS involved, but I’m surprised that nobody said “not approved”.

I have been in the business for many years and have been involved if some fairly hairy towing operations, but I cannot see myself putting my name on a Certificate of Approval for this one.