Fatigue of tanker captain resulted in $ 72.9 million marine accident, NTSB says


23 November 2021

The Atina is pictured after the crash (left) and the SP-57B platform is pictured before the crash (right). U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Cox Operating Photo

A decision by an oil tanker company to change captains without a transfer period resulted in a $ 72.9 million marine accident, according to a National Transportation Safety Board marine accident report released on Tuesday.

Marine Accident Brief 21/24 details the NTSB investigation on October 17, 2020, striking the oil and gas production platform SP-57B by the tanker Atina near Pilottown, Louisiana. The tanker belongs to Atina Maritime Ltd.

The Atina, with a crew of 21, was attempting to drop anchor in the southwest pass anchorage in the Gulf of Mexico when it struck the SP-57B platform. The four crew members and a platform technician were evacuated by helicopter to a nearby platform 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.

In its report, the NTSB says the company failed to comply with its own safety management system (SMS). The injured captain boarded the vessel en route to the anchorage, seeing only the departing captain 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 overlapping 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 AtinaThe tanker’s passage plan, the tanker’s planned anchorage was approximately 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 Atinathe captain’s operating company did not allow sufficient time for the captain’s rotation, resulting in acute captain fatigue and situational awareness when attempting to evolve the anchor from night.

“Ship operating companies should ensure that joining crew / personnel 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”.