Thursday, July 19, 2007
The master of a tanker on which two crew died when it was hit by large waves after leaving Orkney should have delayed sailing, a report has found. The two crewmen died on the FR8 Venture in atrocious conditions in the Pentland Firth last November. A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report says the waves should have been expected and sailing delayed. A female doctor who was winched on board to help another injured crewman was later honoured for her bravery. The Singaporean-registered tanker set sail from Scapa Flow on 11 November and was struck by waves. Orkney locum GP Christine Bradshaw was winched onto the tanker.
Christine Bradshaw's bravery was praised.Two crew hit by the waves died of their injuries, and a third was airlifted for hospital treatment. He made a full recovery. The investigation identified safety issues, which included: "The two large waves that were shipped over the bow could not have been considered abnormal and should have been expected in the prevailing weather conditions. "The master should have delayed the sailing so that the ship could have been secured for sea in sheltered waters. "Having decided to leave the shelter of Scapa Flow before the foredecks were secured for sea, the master's assessment of the position by which the crew should have been clear of the foredeck of the ship allowed little margin for error. This should have prompted an effective plan of action."
FR8 VentureThe report said: "The plan should have prompted the need for precautionary measures, such as considering the option of turning the ship away from the weather, when safe and practicable to do so, to secure the anchors." It added: "The managers of FR8 Venture have reviewed and amended their procedures for working on deck in heavy weather." The report said the priority which the master and deck officers should have is to ensure that when the vessel is either arriving or leaving port, the unsecuring or securing should be done as later or early as possible. This is to try and ensure that crew are on deck and exposed to the elements for the least possible time. In light of the actions taken as a result of the accident, the MAIB issued no safety recommendations. Ms Bradshaw was awarded the RNLI's bronze medal for gallantry.