Mon 30 Oct 2017 by Martyn Wingrove
CMA CGM Vasco de Gama was the largest UKflagged ship when it grounded near Southampton in August
Inefficient use of ECDIS and a pilot portable unit (PPU) were factors in the grounding of a CMA CGM container ship
near Southampton, UK. A report into the accident that occurred on 22 August 2016, listed issues linked to the ineffective
use of enavigation equipment on the ship.
The UK Government’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said that the bridge team on CMA CGM Vasco de
Gama did not use the ship’s ECDIS nor the pilot’s portable equipment to their full potential, which contributed to the
CMA CGM Vasco de Gama, a 399 m ultralarge container ship, grounded on the western side of the Thorn Channel while
approaching the Port of Southampton. This was despite the presence of two of the port’s specialist container ship pilots
on board. CMA CGM’s ship was refloated soon after grounding through a combination of tugs and using the vessel’s
Through the investigation, the MAIB discovered that “the standards of navigation, communication and effective use of
the electronic charting aids on board did not meet the expectations of the port or the shipping company”. This was despite
the vessel’s bridge team and the port’s pilots having the experience, knowledge and resources available to plan and
execute the passage effectively.
Other issues highlighted in the report included the fact that a detailed ship manoeuvre plan had not been produced, the
bridge team’s roles and responsibilities were unclear and that the lead pilot had not briefed the team about his plan for the
turn round Bramble Bank.
“There was an absence of a shared understanding of the pilot’s intentions for passing other vessels, or for making the
critical turns during the passage,” the MAIB said in the report.
“Neither the ship’s ECDIS nor the PPU functionality were fully utilised and resulted in each system not providing
adequate cross checks or alarms.”
In the report, the MAIB also highlighted how margins of operational safety were decreasing because of the increasing
size of vessels being manoeuvred within restricted waterways.
11/10/2017 ACCIDENT REPORT: Ship damaged due to incorrect ECDIS use
“Therefore the importance of proper planning and monitoring of the passage cannot be overemphasised.”
MAIB recommended CMA CGM review the implementation of its procedures for passage planning and use of ECDIS to
include pilotage and bridge teampilot integration in its internal audit process.
ABP Southampton was advised to improve bridge resource management for its pilots and to consider the creation of
provisional pilotage plans to vessels prior to pilot embarkation.
Source : Online publications