|C5/2004M MS KRASNOVIDOVO, collision with pontoon bridge in Kyrönsalmi strait Savonlinna 18 July 2004||Graphical version|
The Russian-flagged dry-cargo vessel ms KRASNOVIDOVO was on 18.7.2004 on its way to Varkaus nearly fully laden with timber. The Master of the vessel had been changed in St. Peterburg, and the Master now onboard was making this voyage on the KRASNOVIDOVO for the first time. This was also his and the Chief Officer’s first voyage to the Saimaa Lake District.
Three Finnish pilots had piloted the vessel from the Saimaa Canal to Savonlinna. The pilot carrying out the piloting from Savonlinna to Varkaus had embarked the vessel at 10.16, 20 minutes before the vessel entered the Kyrönsalmi strait which passes the Olavinlinna Castle. When the new pilot took over, the pilots had a brief discussion on the automatic steering of the vessel and the helmsman's skills. The pilot started piloting, and after a while he took over the manoeuvring of the vessel by manual steering. The KRASNOVIDOVO as a vessel type was not familiar to the pilot, and he did not have time to get enough feel for the manoeuvring of the vessel before it reached Kyrönsalmi. The pilot and the crew discussed neither the manoeuvring characteristics of the vessel in greater detail nor the earlier stages of the voyage.
When the KRASNOVIDOVO approached the spar buoys located near the lower end of Kyrönsalmi, the pilot noticed that the current was very strong in the strait. The vessel entered the inhomogeneous current field of Kyrönsalmi at an angle after a turn which had been too long. The stopping of the turn and the starting of a counter-manoeuvre were delayed. At the same time the pilot handed the manoeuvring over to the Chief Officer without in advance informing about the change in the manoeuvring responsibility.
The Chief Officer took over the helm, and the Master started to handle the engine. After the vessel had started to take a strong turn in the opposite direction, the Master could not stop this turn quickly enough. The vessel first hit the Olavinlinna pontoon bridge, which was open, and then the cliffs of the island at a speed of a little less than three knots. The damages on the KRASNOVIDOVO were minor, and the vessel was soon manoeuvred through Kyrönsalmi.
The KRASNOVIDOVO entered the Kyrönsalmi fairway at an angle, and the pilot handed over the manoeuvring to the Chief Officer just before the vessel reached the spar buoys without any prior notice. These two incidents together were the direct causes of the accident. In a narrow fairway with a current even slight deviations in the steering of the vessel require good knowledge about the conditions in the fairway and excellent manoeuvring of the vessel.
The Kyrönsalmi fairway is one of the most difficult places in the Lake Saimaa deep-water channel system due to its geometry and currents. The fairway cannot be developed because of the historical significance of the strait, and this means that the only option considerably improving structural safety is transferring the fairway to Laitaatsalmi, which has already been planned.
In the collision the fastening of the fixed part of the pontoon bridge came partly loose, and it was no longer possible to use the bridge as a traffic route. The first round of the Timo Mustakallio song contest was about to begin in the Olavinlinna Castle. At this point a decision was quickly made to convey passengers on a transport ferry, which had not been inspected as a passenger-vessel.
The KRASNOVIDOVO accident occured in the summer when the use of the Olavinlinna Castle for big events for the general public is most active. The accident also showed that the only planned route for a great number of people back to the mainland from the Olavinlinna Castle is very vulnerable to disturbances. The historical constructions of the Olavinlinna Castle and its current usage as festival premises for thousands of people are inconsistent with current requirements on public safety. The safety arrangements at the Olavinlinna Castle constitute a whole, which is not restricted only to the usability of the pontoon bridge or the vessel accident. In 1989 the maximum allowed number of persons on the castle yard was established to 560. The combined width of the traffic routes to and from the castle is according to the current building regulations too small for the number of persons temporarily allowed at the gallery (2257) or at the whole castle (2777). The decisions on the maximum number of persons are based on a practice which has continued for a long time, and the situation has not been reassessed when there have been rebuilding of the gallery and stage structures in 2000.
The Investigation Commission’s safety recommendations relate to information about the currents in the strait to the users of the Kyrönsalmi fairway, the transfer of the deep-water channel, the development of piloting practices, the special requirements on pilots navigating the more demanding fairway sections, and a thorough investigation of the public safety of the Olavinlinna Castle.