Real Life Accident: Ship’s CPP Control Transfer Causes Berthing Incident

With berthing almost complete, control of the ship’s controllable-pitch propeller (CPP) was transferred from the bridge to the engine room. Unknown to anyone, the engine room pitch lever was not aligned with the bridge lever, which was at zero.

The engine room pitch lever was not at zero pitch. As a result, when control was accepted in the engine room, the propeller pitch moved to the ahead position and the vessel began to move forward. This placed considerable load on the mooring lines, causing one of the forward lines to part.

Image for Representation Purpose only - Photograph by Sergio Ferrazzano
Image for Representation Purpose only – Photograph by Sergio Ferrazzano

Another line that was being tended by a crew member came under tension, slipped off the winch drum and struck the crew member on the leg. The ship was quickly brought to a halt and the berthing was completed without further incident.

The injured crew member sustained bruising to the leg and was declared unfit to work for five days. This incident clearly demonstrates how the smallest of lapses, even those far removed from the mooring deck, can have significant consequences during mooring operations.

Lessons learned

  • When transferring CPP pitch control from the wheelhouse to the engine room, best practice is to call beforehand and confirm ‘pitch to zero’ – ‘transferring to engine room’.
  • When tending mooring lines, keep your situational awareness at maximum and watch for any unexpected ship movements, among others.

Reference: nautinst.org

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