The final quantity of oil spill from the collision of two ships at Ennore
in January has been pegged at 251.46 tonnes. The two ships involved in the
accident, Dawn Kanchipuram and BW Maple, have been held responsible for the
accident on various counts, according to an investigation report by the
Directorate General of Shipping.
The report added that since the Dawn Kancheepuram crew had initially
estimated only two tonnes of oil leakage, they had conveyed the same to other
parties including the Kamarajar port Ennore, who considered it to be a small
spill and “deployed their oil spill combat resources accordingly and not to
their maximum capacity.” Based on the information provided by the crew of Dawn
Kancheepuram the Port Chairman M A Baskaracharya issued a statement that there
is no oil spill near the port.
Primary among the causes of the collision were human error and fatigue
among the crew of BW Maple, with the rest hours of the crew at “near violation”
the previous day before the accident, leading them to losing situational
awareness. Dawn Kanchipuram too has been held responsible for inconsistent,
interrupted actions, failing to contain the oil spill and for being unable ‘to
identify all fuel oil tanks’ damage.’
An investigation team led by Capt. Ranjit Muduli, deputy nautical adviser,
found the bridge teams on both vessels inadequate and the master of the Dawn
Kanchipuram lacked assertiveness. “Despite being worried by the actions of BW
Maple, he did not challenge the pilot or exercise his overriding authority”.
“Neither the helmsman on BW Maple nor the lookout man raise any alert with
the master or the duty officer about the presence of another vessel ahead at
such close range,” the investigation team reported. According to the report,
both the ships failed to maintain a dedicated sole visual lookout.
“No alert was raised by the vessel to draw attention of BW Maple; neither
was any other communication initiated between the two vessels at this instant
despite being in close quarters. The pilot (of Dawn Kanchipuram) also had
stopped the vessel in between which caused loss of thrust on the rudder, before
again increasing to full (speed) ahead,” the report said.
The report further added that both vessels did not consider the option of
using anchors to prevent the collision. The investigating team submitted that
the staff of Dawn Kanchipuram, while identifying oil leakage, “grossly
underestimated the amount of oil that had escaped the vessel. They also did not
initiate effective procedures to contain oil escaping to the sea,” the report
The team submitted that during interviews of the officers and crew on board
the BW Maple, their competency was found to be inadequate. “The 2nd officer
showed lack of familiarisation in basic manoeuvring characteristics of the
vessel,” the report said. The team also found that the master of the BW Maple
was psychologically stressed, which may have adversely affected his
decision-making ability. He had also put the 2nd officer in charge and had
stopped being an effective part of the bridge team, the report said.