Maritime safety awareness case study

A tanker was attempting to anchor in the Southwest Pass Fairway Anchorage when it struck an oil and gas platform1. The platform’s four crewmembers and one technician evacuated to a nearby platform by helicopter after activating the emergency shutdown device to the platform. 

The tanker company’s safety management system (SMS) required a minimum one-day turnover between senior personnel aboard a vessel. However, the master took command of the vessel at night, having never served on it before and after travelling for about 54 hours from his home to join the vessel. 

An investigation found that the tanker’s operating company did not ensure there was sufficient time for the master’s turnover, which resulted in the master becoming fatigued contributing to poor situational awareness. The company did not comply with its own SMS, expecting the master to conduct critical vessel manoeuvres, such as navigating downriver and anchoring at night, whilst fatigued and without any overlap with the departing master. 



NTSB (2021) Contact of Tanker Atina with Oil and Gas Production Platform SP-57B. Investigation Report, MAB-21/24.