Pilots' fatigue, human error cause of collision, says DGS

The DGS submitted that the fatigue of pilots could have been a contributing factor in the collision.

Chennai: The Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) has informed the National Green Tribunal, Southern Zone, Chennai that the fatigue of pilots and human error were the prime reason behind the collision vessels Liquefied Petroleum Gas Carrier - BW Maple and oil tanker Dawn Kanchipuram, near the Ennore port on January 28 this year.

On January 28, 2017, MV Maple Galaxy, owned by Tokio Marine Holding Inc, collided with MT Dawn Kanchipuram, near the Ennore port. The collision led to a spill of hazardous oil near the shoreline causing severe damage to the ecosystem in the area, which became toxic to marine life.

An office bearer of Royapuram Fishermen Association, K.R. Selvarajkumar and advocate Saravana Dhakshinamurthy sought direction to provide compensation to fishermen affected by the oil spill. When the matter came up for hearing DGS filed an affidavit disclosing the cause of accident before a bench headed by its judicial member Justice M.S. Nambiar on Wednesday.

The DGS submitted that the fatigue of pilots could have been a contributing factor in the collision. Concerned crew members of the ships are not maintained effective lookout and trainee were assigned to the important task.

There was a violation when BW Maple altered her course to port for a vessel on her port side and both the vessels had not followed rules to avoid a collision. Dawn Kanchipuram also altered her course to starboard when the channel of the port was on her port side. The ships did not raise any alarm.

When a collision was imminent, both the vessels did not consider the option of using the anchor to prevent the collision. Several members of the crew had not taken proper rest prior to the accident. Master in BW Maple was psychologically stressed, which may have adversely affected his decision.

He said that there was an error in the estimation of the quantity of oil leaked and they had not taken effective action to contain oil escaping to the sea. Master and bridge team members of the ships must be censured for violating and neglecting various rules under the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972.

The petitioners sought direction to issue compensation to the fishermen. As the government sought more time to identify the fishermen affected by the oil spill.
The bench posted the matter to December 14 for further hearing.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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