Marine Investigation Report M96L0006

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigated this occurrence for the purpose of advancing transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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Grounding - of the bulk carrier "MANYAS 1"
off Pointe-des-Monts, Quebec
20 January 1996

Summary

On 19 January 1996, the "MANYAS 1" was en route to Baie-Comeau, Quebec, when, at about 2100, the vessel became beset in the ice some 3.7 nautical miles south-west of Pointe-des-Monts. The vessel requested ice-breaker assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard. During the night, strong south-westerly winds drove the vessel toward the shore. At 0438, the vessel grounded near the Pointe-des-Monts light, before the ice-breaker could arrive to lend her assistance. The vessel was damaged; however, there was no injury or pollution as a result of this occurrence.

Other Factual Information

Particulars of the Vessel

Name "MANYAS 1"
Port of Registry Istanbul, Turkey
Flag Turkish
Official Number 5548
Type Bulk carrier
Gross Tonnage 16,754
Length 175.99 m
Draught Forward: 3.05 m
Aft: 6.00 m
Built Steel, 1976, Japan
Propulsion One B&W engine, 8,238 kW
Owner(s) Sotrans Shipping and Trading Inc.
Istanbul, Turkey

On 19 January 1996, the "MANYAS 1" was travelling in lightship condition through first-year ice. To help with the navigation in the ice, the vessel called for an ice advisor, who boarded the vessel at Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. A storm warning was issued at 1537[1] forecasting southerly winds of up to 45 knots for the area between Tadoussac and Pointe-des-Monts and of up to 55 knots along the south shore in that area.

At about 2100, the ice beset the vessel and stopped her 3.7 nautical miles (M) south-west of Pointe-des-Monts. Immediately, the vessel asked the Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centre at Les Escoumins for ice-breaker assistance. The Québec Ice Operations Office assigned the "MARTHA L. BLACK"; however, she was already assigned to two other cases in the port of Baie-Comeau, and was planning to take on fresh water before making for the "MANYAS 1". The departure from Baie-Comeau for Pointe-des-Monts to lend assistance to the "MANYAS 1" was set for midnight.

Because of the situation aboard the "MANYAS 1", the master and the ice advisor left the bridge and went to their respective cabins to await the arrival of the "MARTHA L. BLACK". Meanwhile, the bridge watch were instructed to perform their regular duties and to report on the ice-breaker's progress toward the "MANYAS 1".

As taking on fresh water took longer than expected, the ice-breaker did not leave Baie-Comeau until about 0225.

At about 0229, the ice advisor went up to the bridge to assess the situation and found that the bulk carrier had drifted to 1.3 M from the shore, without the bridge watch officer taking the necessary action to warn the master of the situation. The ice advisor immediately asked about the position of the ice-breaker, and informed the MCTS Centre at Les Escoumins of the bulk carrier's new position, but he did not inform the MCTS of the precariousness of the situation aboard the "MANYAS 1".

At 0409, the "MANYAS 1" informed the MCTS that she was only half a mile from land and that the winds were from 230 at 57 knots. At about 0445, with the bulk carrier facing east, she grounded on the aft port side, two cable lengths south-east of Pointe-des-Monts. The "MARTHA L. BLACK" was only one mile away from her.

The bulk carrier listed five degrees to starboard, and the forward part seems to have remained buoyant. The crew of the "MANYAS 1" took soundings of the compartments likely to have been affected, but there was no apparent breach.

On 20 January, at about 1055, the bulk carrier refloated herself on the high tide, then was escorted by the ice-breaker to Baie-Comeau to assess her seaworthiness.

On 26 January, the "MANYAS 1" was towed to a shipyard to undergo repairs to the damage sustained in the grounding.

Analysis

According to the report issued by the Québec Ice Operations Office, the ice conditions south-west of Pointe-des-Monts were: concentration 10/10 of thick first-year ice. Because the vessel was in lightship condition, her manoeuvrability was reduced and her ability to transit the area was seriously compromised. The strong south-westerly winds which began blowing at about 0230 considerably accelerated the bulk carrier's drift toward the shore. The winds were as forecast in the 1537 broadcast; the navigation personnel nonetheless chose to follow a route along the north shore, thereby deliberately reducing the safety margin in the event the vessel became beset in the ice.

The vessel was beset in the ice 3.3 M from the shore; 5 hours and 30 minutes later, she was only 1.3 M from shore. During that period, the bulk carrier requested ice-breaker assistance, but no emergency message was transmitted. If a vessel is in a situation where the need for assistance is urgent, a message to that effect must be sent as soon as possible by the bridge watch officers or the master. That enables the authorities to prioritize requests for assistance.

The "MARTHA L. BLACK" could have stopped taking on fresh water to go lend assistance to the "MANYAS 1" sooner. However, because of the type of message sent by the bulk carrier, the ice-breaker was not aware of the vessel's precarious situation, and therefore proceeded as usual before leaving Baie-Comeau. It was only once the ice-breaker was at sea that she learned of the emergency situation of the bulk carrier.

Findings

1. Because the "MANYAS 1" was in lightship condition, her ability to transit through the ice south-west of Pointe-des-Monts was seriously compromised.

2. The navigation personnel chose to follow a route along the north shore although strong southerly winds were forecast, thereby reducing the safety margin.

3. The "MANYAS 1" first asked the MCTS Centre for assistance when she was 3.3 M from the shore.

4. No "PAN PAN PAN" (urgent) message was transmitted to the authorities by the bulk carrier.

5. Strong south-westerly winds accelerated the vessel's drift toward the shore.

6. When the "MANYAS 1" grounded, the ice-breaker was only one mile away from her.

Causes and Contributing Factors

The "MANYAS 1" grounded off Pointe-des-Monts because she became beset in the ice while following a route along the shore and drifted toward the shore because of the strong winds prevailing in the area. The fact that the bulk carrier informed the MCTS of her situation and requested ice-breaker assistance to continue on her passage rather than making an emergency call contributed to the grounding.

This report concludes the Transportation Safety Board's investigation into this occurrence. Consequently, the Board, consisting of Chairperson Benoît Bouchard and members Maurice Harquail, Charles Simpson and W.A. Tadros, authorized the release of this report on 25 June 1997.


[1]  All times are EST (Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) minus five hours) unless otherwise stated.