Friday, March 9, 2012

Possible reasons identified for Rena grounding

Part of chart NZ541 showing passage plan, plotted positions and voyage data recorder GPS positions on approach to Tauranga
>>> geolocalization with the
Marine GeoGarage <<<

From NewsTalkZB

Taking shortcuts and miscommunication have been identified as possible reasons for the Rena hitting Astrolabe Reef.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has just released its interim report into the accident.

It shows the second-mate began taking the ship closer to the reef at 1.20am because it was running late.
Investigator in charge Robert Thompson says the second-mate says he marked a point one nautical mile north of the reef, so he'd know to change course.
"The second-mate said he showed the master the charts and pointed out the amended passage plan including the mark north of Astrolabe Reef. The master said he did not study the charts. And the mark was put there after the grounding."

Part of chart NZ56 showing passage plan, plotted positions and GPS positions
obtained from the voyage data recorder on passage around Mahia Peninsula

>>> geolocalization with the Marine GeoGarage <<<

Mr Thompson also says the 2am position plot was added after the grounding, and was north of the GPS tracking of the ship's actual position.
"He was not able to access the chart because the master and his second mate were leaning over the chart. The position was not plotted on the chart until after the Rena had run aground, and then it was plotted on the chart north of the vessel's actual 2am position."

Annotated screenshot of the Rena's radar (colour reversed for clarity)

Mr Thompson says an intermittent echo on the radar was noticed nine minutes before they ran aground.
"But it's also not uncommon to have false echoes and the captain's reaction in this case will be the subject of further analysis."

He says there's no evidence the master had been drinking.

Mr Thompson says they misread the ship's position from both the gyro compass and the GPS data.
"Under the influence of tide and current and wind and waves and including any compass error, the ground track was two degrees to the south of the vessel's heading."

Mr Thompson also says chart plots at 1am and 1.20am were put on different charts and weren't cross referenced against each other.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says the report establishes some verified facts that will enlighten ongoing investigations.

Analysis, findings and recommendations stemming from the Rena incident will be subject to the Commission's final report due next year.
Meanwhile the Bay of Plenty Regional Council says today's report gives some clarity about how the accident happened.

Council chairman John Cronin says he hopes the report will help the community in the healing process.
He says they'll continue to work to restore their environment and help the community and iwi recover.

However Labour's deputy Leader Grant Robertson says while the series of mistakes identified are important, investigating the adequateness of the Government's response is also needed.
"But really a thorough investigation into the response, into how people were informed, what kind of communication was there with communities and what we can learn from this is what's really important."

But Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee indicates that won't happen.
"We have, as you know, two inquiries that are going on plus a court case so it's not exactly as if this is being pushed to one side."

Links :
  • NZ Herald / StuffNZ : Rena report: Crew took shortcuts
  • SunLive : Rena report points to human error
  • TheTelegraph : 'New Zealand's worst maritime disaster caused by ship taking short cut'

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