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Fatigue, miscommunication lead vessels to collide

Fatigue, miscommunication lead vessels to collide

UK MAIB released its report about the accident that took place on 1 July 2017, when two Hong Kong registered vessels, the bulk carrier Huayang Endeavour and the oil tanker Seafrontier, collided in the Dover Strait about 5 nautical miles west of Sandettie Bank. Both vessels were damaged, but were able to proceed to nearby ports for damage assessment. The accident did not result in any injuries or pollution.

The accident

On 30 June 2017, Seafrontier departed Antwerp, Belgium, heading to Lagos, Nigeria loaded with 37944 metric tonnes of gasoline. Huayang Endeavour was on passage in the south-west traffic lane of the Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS).

When Seafrontier crossed into the south-west lane of the TSS, the second officer adjusted the autopilot to follow a COG of 221°. Seafrontier’s bridge team noticed a small vessel, the Donau Express II, on the starboard bow. At the same time, Huayang Endeavour was 3.2nm to the north-west of Seafrontier on a COG of 210°.

A little later, Huayang Endeavour’s master adjusted the autopilot to steady on to a COG of 212° and his vessel was now bearing 347° from Seafrontier at a range of 1.6nm, whose stern light was visible to Huayang Endeavour’s bridge team. Seafrontier’s own COG was 221° on a converging course with Huayang Endeavour.

While Huayang Endeavour was 1nm away from Seafrontier and still on a relatively steady bearing, its master could see Seafrontier’s stern light, but neither of its sidelights. He remained concerned by the small CPA and ordered the second officer to use the VHF radio to find out what Seafrontier’s bridge team’s intentions were.