|C6/2010M M/S NORDLAND (NLD), Grounding in the Archipelago Sea on 13 October 2010||Graphical version|
On 12 October 2010 at 22:30 the Netherlands-flagged MS NORDLAND, in ballast condition, departed Turku for Pietarsaari. The master, a pilot and a lookout were on the bridge. However, immediately prior to the accident the lookout was not on the bridge. The ship's joystick hand steering was used as the vessel cast off and only later, on the fairway, was the ship's autopilot switched on. The pilot used the ship's only radar. No suitable electronic navigational charts for the voyage were available. The autopilot settings were as follows: ROT° Min 20, Off Course 20°, Rudder limit 20°, Yawing 1, Rudder 4 and Cnt. Rudder 5.
While the pilot independently steered the vessel the master monitored the passage on his own computer and paper chart. This was done in complete silence. No communication ensued when the vessel approached wheel over points (WOP). The pilot kept adjusting the course without informing the master of his decisions.
Upon approaching the Rönngrund narrows the course over ground (COG) was 268°. At 00:02, abeam of Östra Långgrundet island, 0.25 NM from it, the pilot first set the autopilot heading to 300°, followed by 324° and then 335°. When he noticed that the turn could not be completed as he had planned, and that the radar return of the east spar buoy was lost in sea-clutter, he requested the use of hand steering. By the light of a torch the master located the rudder control button and engaged the joystick hand steering, which the pilot then commenced to use. At this point the vessel was in the red sector of Rönngrund, on a 310° COG. The pilot turned the rudder 20° to starboard, which increased the rate of turn (ROT) to 54°/min. Soon after this the pilot placed the rudder amidships. Right then, at 00:07 and at the heading of 338°, the vessel ran aground between Paukut and Hopialuoto islands at 60°16.2’N 021°47.2’E.
The inaccuracy of ships positioning in mid-turn contributed to the accident. Other contributing factors included inadequate bridge team resource management and steering, as far as dividing the turn into three segments is concerned, as well as unsuitable autopilot settings for navigating in the archipelago. Unsatisfactory application of the vessel's Safety Management System (SMS) at the practical level is considered to be the root cause of the accident.
A properly prepared safety management system per se does not render a sound system. Its usefulness also relies on effective practical implementations as well as frequent reviews. Meticulous voyage planning, an elemental issue, also deserves to mentioning. This includes a clear delegation of responsibilities for the voyage. It is imperative that the bridge team share a common view of the steering inputs which are required during the voyage.
Safety Investigation Authority, Finland recommends that the shipping company and Finnpilot Pilotage Ltd take prompt action in applying bridge resource management in such a manner that the ship's crew and the pilot share a common view on the voyage plan and its implementation as well as the use of steering controls and the steering manoeuvres to be executed. Another recommendation is given to shipping company to take action which brings the port side radar and the electronic chart system up to par with the navigational requirements of the archipelago.