TSB cites loss of steering control in grounding of tanker

M14c0045 Photo 03

The following is the text of a news release from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada:

(QUEBEC CITY) (May 11) — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (M14C0045) into the April 22, 2014, grounding of the chemical/products tanker Halit Bey off Grondines, Quebec. The vessel was proceeding upbound in the St. Lawrence River under the conduct of a pilot when steering control was lost. The vessel veered to port and exited the navigational channel, running aground on the south side of the river off Grondines, Quebec, at 0416 Eastern Daylight Time. No damage, pollution or injuries were reported. The vessel was later refloated with the assistance of two tugs.

The investigation found that steering control from the steering wheel was likely disabled when an unprotected joystick was inadvertently moved, which activated the autopilot override and alarm. The bridge crew was not adequately familiarized with the characteristics of the Halit Bey's steering control system and did not know how to regain control after the autopilot override alarm activated. Once steering control was lost, the vessel veered toward the shore and the crew's attempts to reduce speed and anchor the vessel were unsuccessful to prevent the vessel from running aground.

On May 29, 2014, the TSB sent Marine Safety Advisory (MSA) letter 05/14 to the vessel owners regarding issues with the steering gear control configuration and the familiarization of the navigation crewmembers with the steering gear system on board the Halit Bey.

Following the grounding, complete emergency change-over procedures were posted on the bridge of the Halit Bey, taking into account the particularity of the steering control that could be disabled if someone activated the autopilot override mode.

Click here to view the complete report.

By Professional Mariner Staff