An accident involving a general cargo ship in South Wales, UK, demonstrated the risks from poor planning and underusing onboard navigation aids.
Bahamas registered vessel Celtica Hav grounded in the approach channel to the River Neath, Wales, on 27 March 2018, highlighting the need for detailed pilotage plans and bridge communications.
In a report into the incident, the UK Government’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) discovered that Celtica Hav struck a stone training wall despite the vessel being under a harbour pilot’s control.
Celtica Hav was quickly refloated and manoeuvred clear of the training wall. However, it suffered extensive shell plate damage to the bottom of its hull, which resulted in water ingress to several ballast tanks and flooding in the engineroom.
There were no injuries or damage to the marine environment. The flooding was contained using the vessel’s bilge and ballast pumps and submersible salvage pumps provided by the harbour authority.
The MAIB's investigation discovered that there was no detailed pilotage plan from either the pilot or ship’s master and communications were poor. “The master/pilot exchange did not cover all hazards, including that posed by the training walls,” the MAIB said.
Investigators found the pilot did not have full positional awareness when Celtica Hav left the dredged channel “and did not fully appreciate the risk of grounding on the training wall.”
The pilot and ship master were not using the vessel’s electronic navigation equipment adequately “to monitor the vessel’s position and assess its progress,” said the MAIB.
Following completion of this investigation, investigators made recommendations to both the Neath Port Authority and managers of Celtica Hav, HAV Ship Management NorRus. The MAIB recommended that both organisations should improve pilotage planning and the master/pilot exchange of pilotage information.