Driving from wing station contributed to M/Y Calliope fatality

Jun 9, 2014 by Guest Writer

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released its report into the death of the assistant engineer onboard the 43m M/Y Calliope in February 2013 and found that, by operating the vessel from a remote control pendant from the port wing station, the captain could not reference navigational aids to monitor the yacht’s position as it transited a bridge.


The ATSB found that the yacht “was not on a steady course nor aligned with the center of the bridge opening prior to the transit. The yacht’s speed and rate of turn did not permit the master to fully control the manoeuvre before contact was made.”


According to the ATSB report, which was released May 12, “a passage plan for the voyage had not been completed and, therefore, the risks associated with the voyage were not appropriately assessed or communicated to the crew.”


As the yacht transited the Glebe Island Bridge on Feb. 8, 2013, en route to a day cruise around Sydney Harbor, the assistant engineer attempted to help the chief mate by moving a fender aft of the starboard fashion plate. As he leaned over, he was crushed by a bridge-mounted fender and thrown overboard. He was not responding when he was pulled from the water 4 minutes later, according to the report.


The ATSB noted three other factors that increased the risk in this incident: The yacht’s safety management system did not provide the crew with adequate guidance or contain specific requirements regarding passage planning, training and familiarization. The Cayman Islands requirements are determined by the yacht’s mode of operation so the private yacht was not required to comply with the Large Commercial Yacht Code. And, because it was private and considered recreational, the yacht was not required to carry a pilot during Sydney Harbour voyages.


M/Y Calliope’s management company has told the ATSB that the ship’s SMS procedures have been updated to require the completion of a passage plan for all voyages, and that procedures for transiting bridge openings will be also be issued.


To read the full report, visit www.atsb.gov.au and search for “Calliope”.


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