Lessons Learned: Contact with crane reveals that vessel’s SMS lacks information on dealing with cranes

The Incident

During evening hours, the vessel was berthing below clear skies, while the wind was coming in on the vessel’s port quarter with a speed of 14 knots.

The ship was lining up for berthing starboard side with two tugs assisting in the manoeuvre. One tug made fast forward and the other on the aft port side. A crane had been positioned just in front of the vessel.

The vessel was located approximately 40m off the berth and the tugs were requested to push the vessel towards the berth. While pushing the vessel the bow closed faster than the stern.

During the manoeuvre, the vessel’s bow extended a bit over the berth and made contact with the crane platform, which was just 0.5 m from the edge of the quay.

The platform is used to protect against falling debris and containers for people on the berth.

Shortly before any damage, the officer on the bow informed the master that the bow was closing fast  towards the crane. Therefore, the master attempted to stop bow movement by putting the thruster hard to port but contact with the crane could not be avoided.

During the manoeuvre the pilot was in continuous communication with the tugs but only communicated in the local language. The master did not know if the pilot had ordered the forward tug to reduce pushing or not. The vessel had previously berthed at this port without any difficulty.

The SMS had no specific procedures dealing with the crane’s position.

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