|C14/2001M Tug boat VOIMA, Sinking in Port of Kaskinen on 21.11.2001||Graphical version|
Tug boat VOIMA, owned by Arctic Towing Oy, got a list and sunk when assisting a general cargo vessel in port of Kaskinen, November 21, 2001.
En route from Pori to Pietarsaari VOIMA had stopped in Kaskinen to avoid prevailing strong wind. She was at berth when the master got a request to assist an incoming vessel. Russian cargo vessel PIONER KARELII was approaching. The decision to use tug assistance was made at 20:00 o’clock and VOIMA proceeded to the fairway at 20:20. VOIMA was the closest tug boat available. The vessels met and following the pilot’s orders, VOIMA took the tow line from the PIONER KARELII. The design and technical characteristics of the tug boat set operational limits in assistance specially when assisting a vessel with her own propulsion. The master of the tug boat did not have practical experience in port assistance with this tug boat.
PIONER KARELII was steaming with 6,5 knots’ speed and VOIMA followed on her side with same speed. No operational plans were made or given. After passing the Fishing harbour PIONER KARELII’s engine was stopped but she started to swing off course. With short engine command ahead she could be steered back on course. This was repeated again before the buoy gate of deep harbour. The speed of the vessel vas less than 5 knots and the pilot ordered the tug to start pulling straight into stern direction. At the same time PIONER KARELII started to swing and probably her engine was given an ahead command. VOIMA’s after deck went under water and she got a list. The two deckhands were washed overboard. Soon after this also the master and mate found themselves in the sea. VOIMA finally sunk at 21:08 hours when the tow line was cut onboard PIONER KARELII.
The rescue activity was started quickly by the pilot boat which was in the nearby pilot station. All four men were rescued at the last minute. They all suffered from hypothermia. PIONER KARELII was later berthed succesfully.
The main cause of the accident was the fact that the tug boat was not suitable for assisting in this dangerous way pulling opposite to the vessel in assistance having too much speed ahead. There was a lack of communication between the two vessels specially concerning the engine commands. The tug boat’s stability did not fulfil the requirements and the crew was inexperienced in harbour assistance. The tug boat capsized and sunk quickly because the engine skylet was open.