Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Marine Accident Report : allision of Hong Kong-registered containership M/V Cosco Busan (MMSI Number: 477968900, today renamed MSC Venezia) with the Delta Tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, San Francisco, California, November 7, 2007
Bob Couttie's Maritime Accident Casebook resumes : "An exhausted Captain; single watch-keeping; a warm, cozy bridge at night; the heavy traffic of the Kiel Canal, and pirated navigational software. If you think that sounds like a recipe for disaster, you’d be absolutely right."
Digital Ships (Apr 2010) reports that US District Court's decision (Feb 26,2010) regarding Cosco Busan calls for change in navigation training
More serious than the lack of radar expertise among the crew, in the context of this accident, was the confusion of the pilot and the ship’s master over the symbology used by the electronic chart system.
The electronic chart system in use on the Cosco Busan was not a full ECDIS system, as it was operating with unofficial chart data, though the hardware itself was capable of performing as an ECDIS.
However, NTSB does note in its report that the symbols upon which the pilot relied for navigation were “similar, if not identical” to the type of symbols approved in the International Hydrographic Organization’s (IHO’s) Presentation Library for ECDIS.
Despite this the report says that in post-accident interviews the pilot stated that: “even though he typically saw as many as 10 different ECDIS systems during a work week, he had ‘never seen a red triangle on any piece of navigation information, electronic, paper or otherwise’.” “The red triangles to which the pilot referred were the conical buoys on either side of the Bay Bridge Delta tower.”
-> see raster map in Marine GeoGarage
The report continues with details of discussions of these symbols that took place between the master and pilot, recorded by the VDR.
It says: “the pilot asked the master about the ‘red triangles’ - as he referred to them - on the electronic chart display of the vessel’s transit area.
When asked about the meaning of the red triangles, the master said, ‘this is on bridge’.”
“This was far from a precise response and, based on subsequent events, the pilot apparently interpreted this as ‘centre of the bridge’ or, more significantly, ‘centre of the span’.”
This confusion and uncertainty in the use of the navigation equipment aboard the Cosco Busan had disastrous consequences, as the containership struck the base of the bridge’s Delta tower and leaked approximately 53,500 gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay.
Well, the Cosco Busan verdict has asked the company concerned to spend more on training on voyage planning and Ecdis.
In addition, it was also ordered to implement a comprehensive compliance plan that would include heightened training and voyage planning for ships engaged in trade in the United States.