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Old 21-09-2020, 05:21   #1
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Report on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

Makes interesting reading for us yachties. Could have been a lot worse.

Yacht heading north, ship heading 160 degrees. The MCIB (investigation) report says that the tanker reported seeing a red or port side light some 1.5 nautical miles away, and six minutes before the collision. It says the ship altered course to starboard four minutes before the collision. It also reduced speed and used “sound signal” to request the yacht to indicate its intentions.

The yacht had believed no risk of collision existed as the navigational warning lights on both vessels were “green to green” or starboard to starboard.

The yacht was unaware its own light was showing “red”, due to yawing of its mast from a following wind.

The yacht kept its course and speed in the belief that the tanker would pass clear on its starboard side, the report states.

While the report says the tanker “complied with efforts to avoid a collision when it became apparent that collision was possible”, it is critical of the fact that the tanker tried – unsuccessfully - to communicate via VHF radio with the sailing vessel when it was so close.

“This wasted valuable time when an immediate alteration of course to starboard may have been sufficient to avoid collision,” the report states.

It says the yacht should have seen the tanker’s lights at a range of six miles, and the tanker should have observed the yacht lights at a range of one mile.

It says the report by the master of the Varkan Ege tanker does not indicate there was a lookout on the bridge at the time of the collision but does state that the “lookout kept an eye of the sailing vessel”.

It also notes a “conflict” in the information provided by the master and the watchkeeper on the tanker.

It notes that neither vessel took compass bearings of each other to determine if there was a risk of collision.

The report says that “tiredness and fatigue cannot be completely ruled out as a contributing factor in the collision”.

https://afloat.ie/safety/mcib/item/4...off-greystones
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Old 21-09-2020, 06:24   #2
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

All should be counting their blessing that all they got was some scratches. Glad this is not a different story we are reading...

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Old 21-09-2020, 06:31   #3
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

Another argument for AIS and AIS alarms. While the masthead light may have been a contributing cause, if the sailboat had and been using an AIS transponder- they would have seen the closeness of the crossing and established radio contact.

What seems odd is that they did not respond to the VHF hail, or the tanker’s horn.
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Old 21-09-2020, 06:38   #4
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
What seems odd is that they did not respond to the VHF hail, or the tanker’s horn.
Asleep? The report does state that tiredness could have been a contributing fact.
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Old 21-09-2020, 06:49   #5
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

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Asleep? The report does state that tiredness could have been a contributing fact.
If asleep they lied to the investigators. They said they believed the nav lights were indicating "green to green."

It is hard to imagine watching a ship passing nearby and not responding to a VHF call if you are awake and have a (functioning) radio on the proper channel. I know I have been guilty of neglecting to switch the radio back to 16 after using another frequency.
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Old 21-09-2020, 06:52   #6
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

Strange place to be asleep. Where it happened is a narrow strip about 3-4 miles between the mainland and the offshore banks with lots of buoys, banks, shipping - it's a real "rat run" for traffic that doesn't want to go offshore and outside the banks.

AIS would have been a big help here but so would listening to the VHF. I wonder if the person on watch could hear the radio, was there are speaker on deck, had they turned it down low to allow others to sleep?

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Asleep? The report does state that tiredness could have been a contributing fact.
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Old 21-09-2020, 07:28   #7
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

had this problem before on deliveries where the masthead light has not been correctly centered or has moved,so the red and green sectors are out of alignment with the direction of travel of the yacht.
which is not apparent that their is an issue without checking from a distance at night beforehand.
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Old 21-09-2020, 07:35   #8
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

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It is hard to imagine watching a ship passing nearby and not responding to a VHF call if you are awake and have a (functioning) radio on the proper channel.
I once did not respond to several vhf calls from a ship because they hailed 'fishing vessel near xyz' . . . .and i was not a fishing vessel, and it was an area where there often are fishing vessels . . . . after the 3rd hail when they got no answer I got on and asked if they were calling me . . . . but that all did waste a lot of time.

I had had a prior experience where I answered a similarily ambiguous vhf call (from a naval vessel) and we agreed on a passing arrangement, only to discover a little later that I was not the vessel the ship had wanted to call/pass.

Without a vessel name or music . . . .these calls can potentially get hmmm . . . . confusing at night.

There is no radar usage mentioned in this summary . . .did the ship not have radar on? And a moody . . . i would also expect a radar?
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Old 21-09-2020, 08:22   #9
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
Another argument for AIS and AIS alarms. While the masthead light may have been a contributing cause, if the sailboat had and been using an AIS transponder- they would have seen the closeness of the crossing and established radio contact.
While AIS is no doubt a useful tool, they had all the tools they needed to avoid a collision - the real culprit is spelled out here:

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It notes that neither vessel took compass bearings of each other to determine if there was a risk of collision.
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Old 21-09-2020, 08:27   #10
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

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Yacht heading north, ship heading 160 degrees.
This would have made the yacht the stand-on vessel and the ship (tanker) the give-way vessel

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Originally Posted by kevinof View Post
The MCIB (investigation) report says that the tanker reported seeing a red or port side light some 1.5 nautical miles away, and six minutes before the collision. It says the ship altered course to starboard four minutes before the collision. It also reduced speed and used “sound signal” to request the yacht to indicate its intentions.
This would confirm that that the ship agreed that it was the giveway vessel and that it did so.

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The yacht had believed no risk of collision existed as the navigational warning lights on both vessels were “green to green” or starboard to starboard.
This part makes no sense. The yacht was already the stand-on vessel. The yacht would have no idea how he presents to the ship (tanker), though that shouldn't matter. The yacht would initially only need to see the tankers green and look at the angle to deduce that they were the stand-on vessel.
However, the imminent collision should have been aparent to anyone paying attention.

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The yacht was unaware its own light was showing “red”, due to yawing of its mast from a following wind.
IF the ship turned to Stbd adequately, then the yacht should have seen a red light on the ship (tanker), which would indicate that either it was going to be a port-to-port passing or the yacht was now the giveway vessel. It, at least would have indicated to anyone paying attention on the yacht that the ship had changed course. At that point, the yacht turning to stbd should have also widened the gap of the pass.

So what we're saying is the ship noticed a collision course, altered course to stbd only until it saw the red nav light from the Stbd of the yacht then decided that even though they turned stbd from a collision course, then were now going to pass Stbd to stbd (after a turn to stbd?).

I guess everyone was tired, or not paying attention, or both.
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Old 21-09-2020, 09:04   #11
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

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While AIS is no doubt a useful tool, they had all the tools they needed to avoid a collision
I agree, one can take a collision-check relative bearing by aligning the binnacle, shroud (stay, whatever) and the target- if the target moves forward or back, all is well. If the target does not ‘move’ collision.

AIS is a way to use technology to offset fatigue, or lack of skill.
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Old 21-09-2020, 09:26   #12
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

I've yet to read the report, but from reading the article:

- I'm not sure why someone would conclude that "green to green" implies a safe passing; what matters is the actual course.

- I know the MCA dislikes using VHF, but personally I don't like the idea of not taking advantage of new technology simply because people don't know how to use it effectively. Perhaps a simple "red light - greenlight" checklist might help here (TCPA > x minutes? AIS or visual confirmation of vessel name?)?

- Article notes the two airline pilots have "disputed criticism of their experience in [the report]". I'm guessing the report will have numerous supporting details...
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Old 21-09-2020, 09:47   #13
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

Several things about that report do not make sense:
Report said tanker altered course to starboard and that yacht kept her course.
If initially they were on intercepting courses, this alone should have avoided a collision. So why was there a collision? Tanker turned too late, too slow in turning?


Yacht assumed tanker saw her green light? Why would yacht assume that when the tanker was on her port bow? And if they did assume they were showing a green light, then they would be the give-way vessel and should have turned to port, and communicated that to the ship way before the ship could have seen them (since they could see the ship at much farther range than the ship could see them).


Was anything mentioned about use of radar or AIS by either vessel?
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Old 21-09-2020, 09:49   #14
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

No AIS or Radar on the yacht.

When I was learning this stuff it was before AIS and radar and we always took a bearing check just to make sure. Given that this yacht had no AIS then this should be the default, and yet it wasn't done. They were relying on their (tired) eyeballs at night and with an oncoming vessel at a relatively narrow angle.

There are also lots of questions about the ship and it's decision making. Why not take decisive action first and then call on the VHF? They wasted time trying to call.

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Originally Posted by waterman46 View Post
Several things about that report do not make sense:
Report said tanker altered course to starboard and that yacht kept her course.
If initially they were on intercepting courses, this alone should have avoided a collision. So why was there a collision? Tanker turned too late, too slow in turning?


Yacht assumed tanker saw her green light? Why would yacht assume that when the tanker was on her port bow? And if they did assume they were showing a green light, then they would be the give-way vessel and should have turned to port, and communicated that to the ship way before the ship could have seen them (since they could see the ship at much farther range than the ship could see them).


Was anything mentioned about use of radar or AIS by either vessel?
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Old 21-09-2020, 09:51   #15
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Re: Repot on yacht collision in Ireland in 2019 (report on findings)

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. . - I'm not sure why someone would conclude that "green to green" implies a safe passing; what matters is the actual course.. . .
Indeed, but green to green, far from indicating a safe pass, indicates a DANGEROUS one, in a head-on or fine on the bow crossing. Because:

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. . . It says the ship altered course to starboard four minutes before the collision. . . .
Never pass green to green in such a situation without specific agreement! Otherwise if someone makes the correct alteration to starboard, crunch! Meeting red to red the alteration to starboard disengages the vessels.

Why is everyone talking about stand on and give way? Hardly matters in this situation. If the yacht could see both sidelights or if he could see masthead lights in a line, then it was a head-on situation, and no one was stand on. Within 20 degrees of a reciprocal course is pretty close to a head-on situation. But even without that, both vessels should have done more, earlier. The ship altering 4 minutes TCPA is madness. The yacht failed to judge the situation, failed to understand the danger of meeting green to green, failed to perceive the course change, and just sailed right into the collision. Plenty of blame to go around. Fine on the bow crossings are very dangerous. Lucky no one was killed.


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. . .This part makes no sense. The yacht was already the stand-on vessel. The yacht would have no idea how he presents to the ship (tanker), though that shouldn't matter. The yacht would initially only need to see the tankers green and look at the angle to deduce that they were the stand-on vessel..
No, it makes perfect sense. 4 minutes TCPA no one is stand on. Yacht believed in a safe pass and held course. Ship did not and altered. Alteration to starboard catastrophic in close green to green pass.
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