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Vessel Details

Discuss about the Incident Reporting for Commercial Vessels.

The marine system is recognised as the heart of all transportation methods in Australia. It is one of the highest prioritised mode of material transportation for Australia, besides being a major communicative medium with the other parts of the world. Ocean Drover had been crowned as the pride of Australian marine vessel system until the 9th October 2014, when it had to witness a devastating fire. The fire not only damaged the vessel physically, however, it had ruined it economically as well. This report has tried to analyse the factors that contributed in the fire mishap and aimed at recommending them the appropriate maintenance procedure.

Vessel Ocean Drover is an Australian livestock carrier that was built in 2002. It is presently sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands. It has also been commissioned in 2002 and considered as the world’s largest purpose-built livestock carrier since then. Vessel Ocean Drover has been constructed with advanced ventilation and 168 metres of length. This vessel is 31.1 metres in breadth with the capability of transporting 75,000 sheep or 18,000 cattle at a time (marinetraffic.com, 2016). Vessel Ocean Drover had 9 decks with a tonnage of gross 29812 tonnes. It had celebrated the proud 100th voyage already in June 2010. With a livestock area of 24,000 square metres, Vessel Ocean Drover had visited the major markets of the world, such as Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Turkey, China, Kuwait and many others. Vessel Ocean Drover has been reported with a carriage capacity of  1500 tonnes food and 2,740,000 litres of fresh water (wellard.com.au, 2016). This royal vessel is capable of producing 600 tonnes fresh water per day through 4 reverse osmosis desalination plants. With an amount of 45 crew, Ocean Drover can accelerate its speed up to 20 knots.

As stated by Teo and Ling (2006, p.1586), with all sorts of modern facilities and technological advancements, Vessel Ocean Drover also could not avoid a major accident. The accident that ruined many things of this vessel has been caused by a largely spread fire. It was a sunny cold morning of 9th October 2014, when Ocean Drover witnessed a devastating fire across the crew accommodation. The fire extended widely and no sooner spread across both the accommodation decks. The entire crew of the vessel along with the shore emergency response teams had to be engaged in fighting the situation for rest of the day. The situation arrived under control after a long battle that took more than a half day (Lu and Tsai, 2010, p.2003).

Accident

However, in the words of Aksorn and Hadikusumo (2008, p.718), the situation was not very optimistic at all even after extinguishing the fire. The fire took around the later part of the evening to be extinguished completely, when the navigation bridge of the vessel had been found damaged extensively. Most of the accommodation areas of the vessel had been observed damaged and burnt badly. Not the materialistic damages only, the fire incident at Ocean Drover caused severe injuries to four of the crew members of the ship as well. All of them were taken to the hospital henceforth. According to Amalberti (2001, p.119), this accident was a real curse for Ocean Drover, as it had damaged all their transportation plans and projects throughout the year. It had influenced negatively on the yearly revenue structure for the vessel. Ocean Drover took around months of time to recover all their damages.

Ocean Drover had to undergo an extensive load of post-fire repairs before being enabled again for successful sailing. However, ATSB (Australian Transport Safety Bureau) had to find the causes of the accident before let the management start the recovery method. As opined by Arocena et al. (2008, p.1372), ATSB operated an extensive enquiry for Ocean Drover to understand the issues of an accident more realistically. It was aimed at finding the loopholes and ensuring the future security for the vessel. As per their investigation report, the initial stage of the fire started at Ocean Drover on that particular day from the centrally located forward cabin. This part of the vessel used to be located on the upper deck. This was the positive sign of the investigation report by ATSB, which helped the management of the vessel to locate the actual place of danger along with identifying the possible reasons behind the accident. The report succeeded to find the place of ignition and suggested the management to review the entire technical system of that part. The exact point of ignition, as investigated by ATSB, indicates at the failure of the boiler control. They had also mentioned the failure of the pneumatic and electronic controllers to be the reason behind the boiler control massacare. In the words of Basso et al. (2004, p.228), the fallacy in the boiler control indulged the fire to streche widely on the vessel.

Several opinions are there, beside the investigation report of ATSB, most of which had targeted the fallacy of boiler control as the major reason behind the fire. The crews of the vessel also acknowledged it and agreed that there could be issues in the boiler controller. They could not even deny the responsibility of the pneumatic and electronic controllers in the ignition incident. The fire was discovered allowing fumes and smokes all across the vessel through the way of boiler controller. This incident had proved this part of the vessel as the major culprit behind the accident. This part of the report has been trusted more than any other theories available.

Cause of the accident

However, there is an additional logic derived from the investigation report of ATSB. This part of the ATSB investigation report indicates at the failure of marine control system in the vessel. It had reported the fallacy of bridge deck stairwell of Ocean Clover during the time of accident. According to their report, this part of the deck helped the fire to spread across the vessel through the deck door. According to Bottani, Monica and Vignali (2009, p.157), the unlocked fire door causes the fire to engulf both the upper parts and the decks of the vessel.

As stated by Conchie and Donald (2006, p.1156), the failure of the boiler control system at Ocean Drover indulged the fire to spread more. There was massive dysfunctions at the boiler control system, which led a devastating fire. However, the post-investigation reports described the Pneumatic and Electronic Controllers of the vessel as more responsible for the ignition, as it contributed in the damage of boiler controlling system as well. It is acknowledged by most of the ATSB investigation reports as well. In most of the cases, the commercial vessels in Australia are found to be witnessing major accidents caused due to the failure in a control system. AMSA (Australian Marine Safety Authority) has ensured the safety of the vessels along with all the other commercial ships sailed in Australia largely. It insists all the commercial vessels and ships within the territory of Australia notify them for any sort of help within four hours of the accident. It also encourages the sailors to keep in contact with them and ask for help whenever any threat is noticed (Refer to appendix 1 for figure).

The possible factors of the fire incident at Ocean Drover, as measured by the ATSB, left the management completely astonished. They never imagined that there could be a fault at their Pneumatic and Electronic Controllers or same as for the boiler controller. It was one of the most prioritised engineering designs of this particular vessel. However, in the words of Fernandez-Muniz et al. (2009, p.988), the most confident parts of a marine construction are often found with major loopholes at the end. Besides, they could not develop any prior communication with AMSA before the given time. The whole incident left the crew members of the vessel so surprised that they could not even take any position to make proper and needful decisions. The helps from the local marine authorities also came to them after a long while, when severe damages had already occurred.

Brief Description of the Control System Which Failed

Several reasons have been reported for the investigation of ATSB behind the fire incident at Ocean Drover on 9th October 2014. The boiler controller issue in relation with the fallacy of Pneumatic and Electronic Controllers had been found at the top of the suspected list. The ignition has been caused due to the fuming boiler, as reported by ATSB. However, the reason of such occurrence was solely dependent on the control system. There were some dysfunctions at the Pneumatic and Electronic Controllers, which engineers had described as the reason behind the fallacy in the boiler system. As monitored by Elliott et al. (2008, p.139), the control systems of the boiler as well as the Pneumatic and Electronic Controllers had not been checked properly before sailing, which has contributed again to the fire incident. These are the major responsibilities of the vessel crews along with the engineers, which they are supposed to follow always to activate the control system properly.

Hale et al. (2010, p.1029) stated that there are other factors too, which had increased the risk of fire at Ocean Drover. Most of the crew members responded lately to the fire alarms, which had caused unwanted waste of time to combat the fire collectively. A repeated single-person entries have been noticed in the caution area, which might have triggered the possibility of ignition in the vessel. A lack of training on extinguishing process and lethargy in communicating AMSA had also caused an unwanted delay for the accident to be overcome (Jiang et al. 2010, p.1471).

Conclusion

The role of a marine vessel is always recognised as high priority in the context of Australian transportation system. Thus, working with it is subjected to risk issues. Being a chief engineer of a vessel and that too of a prioritised one like Ocean Drover must be considered with proper care. The role of a chief engineer in a vessel is mostly comprised with both the safety and convenience of transportation issues. A chief engineer at Ocean Drover is always reliable to the safety measures of the crews and the logistics they carry to the other parts of the world. Several issues have been raised from the investigation report of ATSB, which might have contributed to the fire incident at Ocean Drover. It is a prior responsibility of a chief engineer to follow and analyse all the issues categorically in order to be able to recommend safety measurements for the vessel.

A chief engineer is always recommended to take care of all the mechanisms and control systems of the vessel. It also ensures the safety of the vessels along with the human lives associated to it. Hence, they always need to test them properly before sailing and ensure the controller Algorithms along with the controller Tuning to be with their finest health. The alternative evacuation area must be examined properly and the evacuation map is suggested to be pasted on the walls of all major areas of the deck. Chief engineers are always recommended to be attentive about the transfer functions and enable the programmable logic controller with the fullest controlling ability. Above anything, ensuring safe sailing is the most prioritised responsibility of a chief engineer in a vessel.

Reference List:

Aksorn, T. and Hadikusumo, B. H. W. (2008). Critical success factors influencing safety program performance in Thai construction projects. Safety Science, 46(4), pp.709-727.

Amalberti, R. (2001). The paradoxes of almost totally safe transportation systems. Safety science, 37(2), pp.109-126.

Arocena, P., Nunez, I., and Villanueva, M. (2008). The impact of prevention measures and organisational factors on occupational injuries. Safety Science, 46(9), pp.1369-1384.

Basso, B., Carpegna, C., Dibitonto, C., Gaido, G., Robotto, A., and Zonato, C. (2004). Reviewing the safety management system by incident investigation and performance indicators. Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 17(3), pp.225-231.

Bottani, E., Monica, L. and Vignali, G., (2009). Safety management systems: Performance differences between adopters and non-adopters. Safety Science, 47(2), pp.155-162.

Conchie, S.M. and Donald, I.J., (2006). The role of distrust in offshore safety performance. Risk Analysis, 26(5), 1151-1159.

Elliott, M. R., Kleindorfer, P. R., DuBois, J. J., Wang, Y., and Rosenthal, I. (2008). Linking OII and RMP data: does everyday safety prevent catastrophic loss?. International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, 10(1-2), pp.130-146.

Fernández-Muniz, B., Montes-Peón, J. M., and Vázquez-Ordás, C. J. (2009). Relation between occupational safety management and firm performance.Safety science, 47(7), pp.980-991.

Hale, A. R., Guldenmund, F. W., Van Loenhout, P. L. C. H., and Oh, J. I. H. (2010). Evaluating safety management and culture interventions to improve safety: Effective intervention strategies. Safety Science, 48(8), pp.1026-1035.

Jiang, L., Yu, G., Li, Y., and Li, F. (2010). Perceived colleagues’ safety knowledge/behavior and safety performance: Safety climate as a moderator in a multilevel study. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 42(5), pp.1468-1476.

Lu, C. S., and Tsai, C. L. (2010). The effect of safety climate on seafarers’ safety behaviors in container shipping. Accident Analysis and  Prevention,42(6), pp.1999-2006.

Teo, E. A. L., and Ling, F. Y. Y. (2006). Developing a model to measure the effectiveness of safety management systems of construction sites. Building and Environment, 41(11), pp.1584-1592.

MV Ocean Drover (2016, July 27). Retrieved from https://www.wellard.com.au/home/shipping/shipping-fleet/mv-ocean-drover.html

Ocean Drover (2016, July 27). Retrieved from https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/538006122

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