Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Errors in navigation in pilotage waters around New Zealand carry the risk of serious consequences for people, the New Zealand environment, and the economy.
In New Zealand the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has recently inquired into several incidents where errors occurred due in part due to international standards for what should happen on the bridge of a ship not being met.
The Commission is sufficiently concerned with this problem to add it to the TAIC Watchlist.
Deficiencies in bridge resource management, an international standard for ensuring safe navigation of a ship, have been a feature of these incidents. Errors in navigation in pilotage waters have the potential to have serious consequences for people, the environment, and commerce.
Safe navigation of a ship through pilotage waters requires every part of a ship’s voyage to be planned, and for all members of the bridge team to have a common understanding of the plan.
In recently completed inquiries, the Commission found that bridge resource management did not meet international standards. These inquiries featured mis-
communication and a lack of common understanding among the bridge management team, and poor integration of pilots into the bridge team.
The Commission has made recommendations about improving standards of pilotage, improving standards of voyage planning, bridge resource management, and about the training and use of electronic chart display and information systems. These recommendations remain open.
International agencies have also identified pilotage as a safety issue.
For the full NZ TAIC Watchlist item readers are invited to see:
The TAIC Watchlist
The Commission’s Watchlist encourages regulators, operators, the Government – and the people involved in transport every day – to mitigate transport-related concerns which carry with them high potential social, economic or environmental risk; and systemic transport safety risks.
The common thread is poor application of an international standard for ensuring safe navigation of a ship otherwise bridge resource management.
Bridge resource management
Bridge resource management is the effective management and utilisation of all resources - human and technical - available to a bridge team, to help ensure the safe completion of the vessel’s voyage. This safety and error management tool has been crucial for crew training worldwide for a quarter of a century. It has the backing of the IMO.
Bridge resource management includes:
What is more, everyone on the bridge must be able to challenge those in charge.
Failures in one or more of these areas have featured prominently in four inquiries completed by the Commission since November 2017
Inquiries that prompted this Watchlist item
A cruise ship contacted a submerged object near Snares Island in January 2017. The key issue was poor bridge resource management and operation of the ship’s ECDIS, the primary means of navigation. The Commission’s recommendations to the operator addressed voyage planning, bridge resource management, and ECDIS training.
For further details readers are invited to see here:
Four weeks later, the same cruise ship was entering Milford Sound at night. The pilot lost situational awareness and the ship struck a stony bank near the base of Mitre Peak. The bridge team was not making full use of the ship’s electronic navigation systems and when they noticed the ship was off track, they didn’t tell the pilot until it was too late. The Commission repeated recommendations from the previous inquiry.
A second cruise ship contacted Wheki Rock in Tory Channel in early 2016. The bridge team and the pilot had no shared understanding of the plan for the ship to make a crucial turn, or the influence the tide, and they did not properly monitor the ship’s progress. Recommendations about pilot training, and risk assessment for safe navigation of cruise ships through Tory Channel.
In a fourth recent report, a bulk carrier ran aground in Otago Harbour, again because of poor bridge resource management. The bridge team lost situational awareness. They had not adequately monitored the ship’s progress using all available means and the pilot and crew lacked a formal shared understanding of the passage plan and navigation equipment configuration.
Pilotage is an issue for international agencies as well. The TAIC’s peer organisation, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has placed maritime pilotage on their SafetyWatch, the equivalent publication to the Watchlist.
The series of recurring incidents involving standards of bridge management that do not meet industry standards, and the presence of the problem in other jurisdictions, suggests that this is a safety issue that needs attention from the regulator, operators, and training providers.
Piracy increased on the world’s seas in 2018, with a marked rise in attacks against ships and crews around West Africa, the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) latest annual piracy report reveals. The document was issued jointly in London and Kuala Lumpur on 16 January.
Worldwide, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) recorded 201 incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery in 2018, up from 180 in 2017.
The Gulf of Guinea remains increasingly dangerous for seafarers. Reports of attacks in waters between the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo more than doubled in 2018, accounting for all six hijackings worldwide, 13 of the 18 ships fired upon, 130 of the 141 hostages taken globally, and 78 of 83 seafarers kidnapped for ransom.
The region saw a significant new spike in violence in the last quarter of 2018. Vessels have been boarded by pirates well outside territorial waters, with crew kidnapped and taken into Nigeria where they are held for ransom.
On 16 January the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs launched a new sectoral strategy for the shipping industry. This strategy is a part of the Danish government’s national strategy for cyber and information security.
The strategy contains a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening IT security and preventing cyber threats in the maritime sector.
The objective of the strategy is to ensure that safety in Danish waters and on board Danish ships is not compromised by cyber attacks.
The responsibility for cyber and information security in the maritime sector lies with the Danish Maritime Authority. The new strategy covers navigational safety in Danish waters and safety on board Danish ships, including systems and software for operation, propulsion and navigation of the ship.