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Contact while berthing – Monthly Safety Scenario

It was early morning and the general cargo vessel was sailing up a South American river with a pilot onboard. The master and pilot had done a pilot exchange where the pilot presented the plan for the berthing. The vessel would be berthed portside between two vessels which were already berthed. The master asked the pilot if any tugboats would be necessary but the pilot said it would be unnecessary as the vessel would have 200 m clearance between the berthed vessels.

The vessel had a speed of about 2 knots over the ground in the river as there were strong currents and some wind.

During the final berthing manoeuvre the vessel passed one of the berthed vessel with only 20m clearance on the portside as the current set the vessel towards the berthed vessel.

The master had the conn and was positioned on the port wing as he was manoeuvring the vessel, the pilot gave him advice and instructions. When the master noticed that the vessel was very close to the berthed vessel he ordered full power to starboard on the bow thruster.

Despite the master’s efforts to turn the bow to starboard the vessel continued turning to port and the bow made contact with the berthed vessel. The vessel’s superstructure was forward so the bridge wing also caused some damage to the berthed vessel.

The master finally managed to get control of the vessel and berth it. Upon berthing the vessel, the master noted that the distance between the two berthed vessels was only 10 m forward and 20 m aft.

Source: The Swedish Club

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