Collision between chemical tanker ORAKAI and beam trawler MARGRIET North Sea, 21st December 2014.

The UK MAIB has recently published their report on a collision between the chemical tanker ORAKAI and the beam trawler MARGRIET in the North Sea, 45m west of Ijmuiden on 21st December 2014. MAGRIET was seriously damaged both above and below the waterline. Approximately 8 tons of diesel oil escaped from a damaged fuel tank. ORAKAI sustained minor damage. There were no injuries.

The investigation identified that the watch keeper on MARGRIET was not keeping an effective lookout. He had not seen the tanker, which was only a mile away when he altered course towards it. The investigation also identified that the officer of the watch onboard ORAKAI had left an inexperienced ordinary seaman alone on the bridge.
The fishermen got off lightly. British flag fishing vessels are not required to meet damage stability criteria and had the tanker's bulbous bow penetrated the trawler in engine room or fish hold, it would have sunk like a brick. We have discussed fishermen and fatigue before, and we cannot dismiss fatigue also being a factor in our own sector, particularly during a charter or owner cruise. We again remind crews of our managed yachts to report to the DPA when working/rest hours regulations cannot be complied with.

The Chief Officer of ORAKAI has no excuse. STCW makes it abundantly clear that the officer of the watch is not to leave the bridge unless properly relieved. I'd be lying if I said I'd never sprinted down to my cabin deep sea - and I don't condone it at all - but spending 20 minutes below looking for a cable tie in the southern North Sea while in close proximity to traffic is insane.

For those on board Watkins' managed boats, please ensure that all deck officers and watch keepers 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.