Safety for one, is safety for all. The Nautical Institute stresses this in its latest Mars Report, in which an underperforming crew member nearly caused a collision after overlooking a fishing vessel.

The Nautical Institute gathers reports of maritime accidents and near-misses. It then publishes these so-called Mars (Mariners’ Alerting and Reporting Scheme) Reports (anonymously) to prevent other accidents from happening. This is one of these reports.

A loaded LNG carrier was underway at about 18 knots in open seas with low swell and waves near 1.5 metres. Visibility was very good at approximately 15 nm. The only traffic in the vicinity was a single fishing vessel. The bridge watch consisted of the officer of the watch (OOW) and one able seaman (AB). The OOW had assigned the AB duties other than lookout due to the good visibility.

The AB had seen the fishing boat earlier and had reported it to the OOW. Some time later, the master was on deck when he noticed the fishing boat abeam of ship’s port manifold at a distance of about 50 metres. The master went to the bridge to inquire about the close passing. The answers of the OOW were, upon further investigation, untruthful.

It appears the fishing vessel had either been forgotten about or otherwise ignored by the OOW. Further inquiries uncovered that subordinates and other officers had observed less than adequate performance from this particular OOW in the past, but these observations were not reported to the master.

Also read: Poor BRM between pilot and bridge team leads to grounding

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • Safety for one, is safety for all. Regardless of your rank, if you observe dangerous or less than adequate performance from a teammate, advise your supervisor. Your safety depends on every team member pulling their weight.

Also read: Poor situational awareness leads to collision

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202417, that are part of Report Number 377. 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: Collision of tanker and fishing boat in good visibility