NSIA report into the collision between the cargo ship and the fishing vessel ‘Tornado’ fond that larger boat should of employed a lookout. Photo: Redningsselskapet
The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority (NSIA) has released its report into the collision between the cargo ship ‘Edmy’ and the fishing vessel ‘Tornado’ outside Langesund on 04 October 2022.
The collision between the 118-metre-long cargo ship ‘MS Edmy’ and the fishing vessel ‘MS Tornado’ in Langesundsbukta Bay resulted in significant material damage to the fishing vessel. In the NSIA’s opinion, the use of navigational aids such as ECDIS and AIS resulted in the navigator, who was alone on the bridge of ‘MS Edmy’, making less use of traditional lookout-based navigation.
When the navigator on the bridge of the cargo ship checked the radar for potential dangers, he found the course he had set for Copenhagen to be clear. He did not see the fishing vessel. He then went to the aft of the wheelhouse to carry out office work on the computer. After sailing for half an hour on the same southbound course at a speed of around 12 knots, the navigator suddenly felt something hit the bow of the ship. The cargo ship collided with the fishing vessel at 08:35.
The crew of ‘MS Tornado’ suffered no physical injuries, but the vessel had sustained considerable damage to the port bow bulwark. ‘MS Edmy’ sustained minimal damage. The cargo ship’s bridge navigational watch alarm system, a tool that can help navigators to maintain attention over time, was deactivated during the day. The NSIA believes the system would have contributed to safer navigation had it been active.
The fishing vessel ‘Tornado’ was trawling for prawns in Langesundbukta Bay with two persons on board. They used both navigation lights and day shapes for trawling. As they did not wish to reveal the location of their fishing grounds, they were not transmitting AIS information at the time when the course for ‘MS Edmy’ was set. ‘Tornado’ was therefore only visible on the radar as an echo, with no AIS information shown on the radar or ECDIS displays. AIS transmission was activated 5–6 minutes before the collision.
The NSIA believes that the expectation that most vessels transmit AIS information can lead to a false sense of security, as there is a possibility that not all dangers are identified.
The NSIA understands fishermen’s reluctance to transmit their position via AIS and thereby risk revealing their fishing grounds, but by not doing so, they also remove an important digital safety barrier by not enabling other vessels to identify them. Although visibility was good and the fishing vessel was clearly visible with day shapes and navigation lights, active AIS transmission at an earlier stage would probably have increased the likelihood of the cargo ship identifying the fishing vessel.