March 17 - The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has released a report into the listing and subsequent grounding of Höegh Osaka on the Bramble Bank at the entrance to the Port of Southampton in January 2015.
Höegh Autoliners' pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) was departing Southampton and turning around the Bramble Bank when the ship developed a significant starboard list, said the MAIB. As the list increased in excess of 40 degrees, the ship lost steerage and propulsion, and subsequently drifted aground.
A cargo shift as the ship listed resulted in a breach of the hull and consequent flooding. All crew were safely evacuated from the ship and surrounding waters. There was no resulting pollution, and the ship was later successfully salvaged.
MAIB explained that stability and modelling analyses following the accident showed that the ship listed heavily as a result of having inadequate stability, which had not been identified prior to departure.
In light of this, the MAIB suggested that assessing a ship has adequate stability for its intended voyage on completion of cargo operations and before it sails is a "fundamental principle of seamanship that must not be neglected".
The MAIB also noted that a loading computer is an effective tool but can only be as accurate as the information entered into it; while stressing the need for making sufficient time before departure to complete an accurate stability calculation.
Within the report, it states that although the majority of cars were tightly stowed in the vessel, some of the high and heavy cargo was not so tightly stowed. Therefore, when the lashings broke, the size of the high and heavy cargo caused significant damage to nearby vehicles.
The MAIB has made recommendations to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Association of European Vehicle Logistics and the International Chamber of Shipping, which seek to improve safety in this sector of the shipping industry.
Höegh Autoliners and Wallem Ship Management have welcomed the publication of the report, reinforcing that the incident resulted in no loss of life and no pollution, as well as no disruption to traffic in or out of the port.
"Höegh Osaka's unfortunate incident was caused by a series of circumstances that independently would not have been critical, but ultimately caused the vessel to develop a severe list and ground on the Bramble Bank," said Höegh Autoliners ceo Ingar Skiaker.
"Immediately after the incident, we reinforced the adherence to procedures among all our staff, and training courses were expanded to ensure that lessons learned are shared company-wide," added Skiaker.
"Our senior technical team will now look very carefully at the report's detailed findings to determine additional lessons for our future operations, but it is reassuring to see that most of the recommendations made in the report have already been incorporated in our procedures."
Since the accident Höegh Osaka has been brought back into service after necessary repairs and is now trading worldwide.
See a copy of the full MAIB report here.