Report on marine accident - Aurora Explorer, IMO no. 9196723 allision with quay and passenger injuries, Barentsburg, Svalbard 15 July 2018

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Description

On 15 July 2018 Aurora Explorer collided with the quay while docking at Barentsburg. Many of the 125 persons on board, mainly French pensioners, were standing on the open deck during arrival. Many of them fell during the collision with the quay. Almost one third of the passengers and one crew member suffered varying degrees of injury.

The investigation has revealed that the vessel was operated in back-up mode in order to achieve cruising speed under way. This allowed the possibility of operational error/oversight to arise, whereby a master could forget to re-set the system to combinator mode before docking.

On arrival at Barentsburg the vessel was possibly still being operated with the port drive line in back-up mode, so that the propeller on the port side could still have been carrying forward pitch. The vessel’s speed towards the quay increased when the master, following normal practice, pulled the port manoeuvre handle to astern, in order to swing the stern in. When the manoeuvre handle was pulled to astern, the rpm on the port engine increased, if the system on this side remained in back-up.

The AIBN’s investigation has shown that the shipping company had not assessed the risks to passenger safety that might result from changes in operational mode. The shipping company was unable to produce any assessment of the back-up operational mode that was chosen, with its attendant risk of nonconformity.

Based on these findings, the AIBN is therefore submitting a safety recommendation to the shipping company.

Safety recommendation

Safety recommendation MARINE No. 2019/01T

Aurora Explorer collided with the quay at Barentsburg on 15 July 2018, and a third of the total of 125 persons on board suffered personal injuries of varying degrees of severity. The vessel was operated in back-up mode in order to achieve cruising speed under way. This allowed the possibility of operational error/oversight to arise, whereby a master could forget to re-set the system to combinator mode before docking. The shipping company has no documentation recording the reasons for this decision, its safe implementation nor an assessment for eventual possible increased risk to passengers due to this.

AIBN recommends Arctic Explorer AS to carry out and document risk assessments for all operational changes in order to ensure the safety of its passengers and crew.

Location
Barentsburg, Svalbard
Occurrence date
15.07.2018
Accident category
Collision
IMO number
9196723
Name of vessel
Aurora Explorer
Accident type
Fall on board, Allision, Passenger accident
Vessel type
Passenger Ship - Ferry
Register
Other Flag State
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Report on marine accident - Aurora Explorer, IMO no. 9196723 allision with quay and passenger injuries, Barentsburg, Svalbard 15 July 2018 Download report
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