MAIB Report on the grounding of Maltese tanker OVIT on the Varne bank September 2013

The MAIB has published a report on the investigation of the grounding of Maltese tanker OVIT on the Varne bank, September 2013

It is hoped that the Chief Inspector's strongly worded opening remarks will taken on board by ECDIS manufacturers who have had far too much say in the development of electronic chart displays and information systems. The current generation of ECDIS systems can be fully compliant yet simultaneously misused with key safety features disabled. Manufacturers must accept that human nature is a factor and not simply refer the end user to onerous, costly or inadequate training.

In this case, total reliance was placed on ECDIS to the exclusion of common sense. Inadequate supervision or signing off the passage plan were just two features of an almost total lack of bridge team management, culminating in a grounding without warning from an inoperative audible alarm to alert an oblivious watchkeeper.

For the Officer of the Watch to take nineteen minutes to appreciate that the ship was aground - even with prompting from the coastguard after fifteen – shows a spectacular lack of situational awareness.

Masters of Watkins managed yachts are requested to ensure that watchkeepers are competent in the correct use of ECDIS systems and that defects are reported and addressed. The company will provide additional training if required. Please also ensure that all watchkeepers and any other interested crewmembers are given an opportunity to read this and confirm so in your next HESS meeting minutes.

I can be contacted at any time if anyone has any questions. We would welcome any feedback of course, and would be pleased to circulate any comments.

Kind regards


PS My colleagues and I are at the Monaco Yacht Show next week. As many addresses are not known to us personally, please do drop me a line if you would like to meet and we can put names to faces.