Regardless of how well you maintain your fleet, recruit and train your crew or manage your operations, it is a fact that accidents and incidents can still occur and in addition to the risk of human injury and cost of damage or loss to capital equipment these can have serious consequences for the reputation of your business.
That is why it is vital to have access to experienced and proven accident and investigation services – so that if something does go wrong you can reliably establish the facts of how they occurred, what procedures need to be reviewed and possibly changed and generally what lessons should be learned to ensure as much as possible that a similar event cannot reoccur in the future.
Accident and incident investigations can determine if an asset is equipped and maintained to a standard that ensures it meets its specific contractual requirements. They can also assist in legal proceedings on behalf of a client or may be required to provide an expertly qualified second opinion to a company’s initial internal investigation and conclusions.
Up until now these vital services have been very difficult to procure in the entire West African region. Where they have been required, they have necessitated flying in an investigation team from another region, which almost always creates difficulties due to a lack of understanding of local languages, business practices and cultures, as well as with getting travel visas.
At CARES Group we have recognised this and taken the decision to combine our extensive knowledge and experience of the maritime sector in this region with international recognised accident and incident investigation specialists.
Much of the emphasis on accident and investigation services is on Dynamic Positioning (DP) Vessels and the services are broadly focused on collision investigation, vessel assessment and crew competency.
To illustrate the range of services and expertise available, our experts describe three different accident and incident investigations that have been conducted.
This incident involved a DP2 Vessel. The vessel was blown off position. When brought in to investigate it was quickly established that there was no human error involved in operating the vessel and the vessel itself was in perfect working condition with no mechanical errors. It was discovered that the vessel was positioned stern first into a 65m long soliton when the incident occurred, which was within the capability plot of the thrusters. After detailed investigation it was established that the capability plot was wrongly certified by the manufacturers of the vessel in Singapore rather than by an independent third-party assessor.
Our investigation team was brought in after a 200m DP2 vessel collided with a platform after losing her main engine power.
It was found an initial internal company investigation had been unable to determine the cause of the collision. Our expert and fully qualified Master Mariner, with the aid of the voyage data recorder was able to establish that the incident resulted from a blackout situation.
Upon blackout the crew failed to understand they had to manually intervene by switching a breaker to start the auxiliary fuel pump to supply fuel to the auxiliary engines as stated within the DP Operations Manual found on board.
Unfortunately, the engine room personnel were unaware of this requirement and failed to start the auxiliary engine fuel pump.
As found the root cause of the accident was contaminated fuel blocking filters and it was also found during the investigation that the auxiliary engine fuel valves were kept in the closed position meaning even if the auxiliary fuel pump had been started, the auxiliary engines would still of had no fuel supply.
In this incident, a pipe laying DP vessel went into manual mode and lost position resulting in serious injury to a welder who was working at a welding station. A full investigation was conducted which revealed that the crew were wrongly ordered to go into DP joystick mode after a screen freeze, which was unnecessary as the vessel was holding its position on Auto DP mode.
“At CARES Group we have an underlying commitment to provide added value to clients by providing world-class services to operators throughout the West African region says CEO Jonathan Spivey.
“Accident and investigation services are vital to operators and it is essential that these services are available in West Africa and to the highest standards. We are delighted to be able to introduce CARES Group’s knowledge and experience to regional operators and to be making the further commitment to pass on this knowledge to locally-based professionals via an extensive training programme,” Jonathan concludes.
Read more about our Incident and Accident Services here and find out what other marine surveys and consultancy services we provide here.