Insufficient room to pass cited in containership collision

The following is a marine accident brief from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB):

(WASHINGTON) — At 2327 local time on March 21, 2019, the containership Marcliff was outbound from the Port of Yokohama, Japan, when it collided with the containership APL Guam, which was inbound to an anchorage at the port. After the initial collision, Marcliff then collided with the containership Hansa Steinburg, which was anchored nearby. No pollution or injuries were reported. Damage to the three vessels was estimated at $1,178,200.

Probable cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision between the containerships Marcliff and APL Guam was the Marcliff master’s attempt to pass between APL Guam and the anchored Hansa Steinburg with insufficient safe maneuvering room. Contributing to the accident was a lack of communication between the Marcliff bridge team and the APL Guam pilot and bridge team to establish their maneuvering intentions.

Analysis excerpt

Because APL Guam and Marcliff were in a crossing situation and APL Guam was on the starboard side of Marcliff, by international convention, Marcliff was required to keep out of the way of APL Guam and avoid crossing ahead of it. The master ordered a 10 degree turn to port about one minute before the collision, but Marcliff should have altered course to starboard to avoid crossing ahead of APL Guam. A turn to starboard would have been predictable by APL Guam pilot and bridge team and resulted in a port-to-port meeting between the vessels. Thus, the master’s turn to port (and his stated intention to pass starboard to starboard) would have been unexpected by the pilot and bridge team on APL Guam. The Marcliff master did not appear to recognize the dangerous situation that was developing until 2325:51 — 45 seconds before the accident — and at first took no action despite a recommendation from the third mate to use astern propulsion. When the master eventually ordered the engine astern, it was too late to avoid the collision.

Click here to read the complete report.

By Professional Mariner Staff