Fatigue of tanker captain cited in $ 73 million marine accident


The decision of an oil tanker company to change captains without a transfer period resulted in a $ 72.9 million marine accident off the coast of Louisiana, according to a National Transportation Safety marine accident report Board published Tuesday.

Marine Accident Brief 21/24 details the NTSB’s investigation into the accident on October 17, 2020, in which the tanker Atina struck the SP-57B oil and gas production platform near Pilottown, Louisiana.

The Atina, with a crew of 21, was attempting to anchor in the Anchorage of the Southwest Pass in the Gulf of Mexico when it struck the SP-57B platform. The four crew members and a platform technician were evacuated to a nearby platform by helicopter after activating the emergency stop device to close the wells of the SP-57B platform.

No pollution or injuries were reported. The estimated damage to the platform ($ 72.3 million) and the vessel ($ 598,400) totaled $ 72.9 million.

The Atina is pictured after the crash on the left and the SP-57B platform is pictured before the crash on the right. Sources: The US Coast Guard (left) and Cox Operating (right). Credit: NTSB

In its report, the NTSB says the company did not comply with its own safety management system (SMS) before the crash.

Atina’s captain at the time of the accident boarded the vessel en route to the anchorage, seeing only the captain departing on the deck of the tanker. The company placed the injured captain in the critical evolutions of the vessel, such as downstream navigation and night mooring, without any overlap with the departing captain. The company’s SMS required a rotation of at least one day between senior managers aboard a company vessel if the oncoming senior manager was working for the company, and seven days if the senior manager was new to the business.

According to the report, the captain of the accident told investigators he wanted to anchor the ship as soon as possible because he was tired. The captain of the crash traveled from Turkey to join the ship and told investigators he had not slept for more than 50 hours during the trip. The location he chose did not follow the anchor location of the passage plane. According to Atina’s passage plan, the tanker’s planned anchorage was about 3.2 miles northeast of SP-57B. The actual anchor location was approximately 0.7 mile from the SP-57B platform.

Investigators determined that the probable cause of the tanker Atina’s contact with the SP-57B oil and gas production platform was that the Atina operating company was not ensuring sufficient time for the rotation of the tanker. captain, which resulted in acute fatigue for the captain and poor situational awareness during an overnight attempt. anchor evolution.

“Ship operating companies should ensure that joining crew / staff have the opportunity to obtain sufficient transfer period and adequate rest before taking on critical tasks on board, such as as navigation, which could have an impact on the safety of the crew, property and the environment, ”says the report. In this case, “an overlap would have allowed the incoming master to rest and receive transfer information from its peer”.

Marine Accident Brief 21/24 is available online at