UK – Brownout Leads to Allision

Monday, December 15, 2008

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued the summary of its preliminary examination of the allision of a ro-ro passenger ferry with a linkspan in the Port of Calais on 29 August 2008.

While leaving port, the ferry suffered a brownout (a partial loss of electrical power).  This resulted in the loss of the starboard main engines and the momentary disconnection of the bridge control system.  Power was quickly restored and the maneuvering controls were reset to zero.  The ferry, though, began to move ahead.  The anchors were let go and the main engine emergency stops were activated, but not in time to prevent the ferry from alluding with the linkspan on an adjacent berth.

Investigation revealed that when the controllable pitch propeller system restarted, it went to “last setting”, rather than zero, and was operating via the back-up control system.  Thus, use by the bridge team of the restored regular controls was ineffectual.  Instructions onboard were found to be inadequate to cover this unusual situation.  In addition, for a variety of reasons, the voyage data recorder (VDR) did not record the accident data.

(Source: Holland & Knight)

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