Analysis of a marine casualty involving the loss of a commercial fishing vessel found that the Digital Selective Calling (DSC) equipped VHF radio was not properly configured with the vessel’s GPS system. This follows from The Nautical Institute’s latest Mars Report.

The Nautical Institute gathers reports of maritime accidents and near-misses. It then publishes these so-called Mars Reports (anonymously) to prevent other accidents from happening. A summary of this incident:

While the master was able to broadcast the vessel’s position before sinking, having the DSC alert properly enabled could have provided the master more opportunity to focus on emergency operations and egress from the sinking vessel, while still continuously broadcasting an emergency signal over VHF.

Also read: Allianz: ‘Fire, collision, sinking and damaged cargo top causes of marine insurance losses’

Advice from The Nautical Insitute

  • Obtain and properly register an MMSI number.
  • Ensure that your GPS and DSC-equipped radio are connected.
  • Confirm proper operation of your radio equipment by adequate testing.

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202342, that are part of Report Number 371. A selection of the Mars Reports are also published in the SWZ|Maritime magazine. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published (in full) on SWZ|Maritime’s website.

More reports are needed to keep the scheme interesting and informative. All reports are read only by the Mars coordinator and are treated in the strictest confidence. To submit a report, please use the Mars report form.

Also read: Occupational accidents top the list in Dutch Safety Board report