Skip to main content

NOT SO SPLENDID


On November 08, 2010 the Carnival Group passenger ship MS Carnival Splendor caught fire off the Pacific coast of Mexico.  This caused a series of problems for the Carnival Group which showed an inherent weakness in their safety protocol.  This incident was repeated in the MS Carnival Triumph in February 2013.  Of course an investigation was launched by the United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Office due to the ship sailing from an United States port on a cruise with mostly United States citizens as passengers.  A Report of some fifty-one (51) pages by USCG-MSO of this incident has now been published.  Various summaries of the Report  are available online and the full Report is published on the USCG HOMEPORT website.  NAUTICAL LOG has extracted from the Report the key points to use in this Post.

Currently the MS Bimini Superfast is trying to obtain a U.S. Passenger Certificate to operate between the Port of Miami, FL and Bimini, Bahamas for this vessel a three hour trip.  For those of you who have been following in NAUTICAL LOG the saga of her trials and tribulations to obtain that Certificate perhaps the Report on the MS Carnival Splendor incident is a major factor explaining the depth and precision of the Safety Inspection ** by the USCG-MSO 7th. District Chief of Inspection.

When the MS Carnival Splendor caught fire in her engine room the fire burned for seven (7) hours  and the resulting damage to the electrical supply cabling cut off power to the 3,000 passenger vessel.  In review it appears likely that the "Hi-Fog"® system in the engine room could have put out the fire had it been activated correctly.  The system had a 40 second delay built into it and this in turn resulted in a watchstander of the Watch Bridge Team resetting the alarm on the Bridge Control Panel when it sounded (noise and light).  In turn, through the smoke detector linkage, this made it impossible to trigger the misting system automatically.  The mist system was finally activated after 15 minutes by which time the fire had spread and caused serious damage.

As always the Report details whom did what and what they did incorrectly in following the fire-fighting protocol and indeed what was incorrect or could be improved in that protocol itself.

This is what NAUTICAL LOG has picked out as key points to incorporate in crew training and written protocols:

  • Remove that 40 second delay.
  • Do not reset the alarm until it is confirmed why the system activated.
  • Train for accurate following of the fire-fighting protocol.
  • Make sure that the fire-fighting protocol is truly effective.
  • Make sure machinery maintenance is up-to-date and parts are in good condition.
  • Check all air coolers and systems for all diesel generators.
  • Train and check that all crew in the engine room know the layout and its fire-fighting protocol.
  • Exercise effective fire-fighting drills.

Additionally the Report has recommended:
  • Lloyds Register should inspect carbon dioxide systems in all passenger vessels.
  • The USCG should enhance guidelines for evaluation of fire drills **
  • The USCG should recommend better guidance for fire drills to the IMO.**

Some NAUTICAL LOG thoughts.  Reading the above one can recall these same points being made time and time again over the years at sea.  Indeed they were worded in accordance with the equipment of the time but the same thing and the same problems. 

Safety is really quite simple to achieve, but well thought out protocols and beautifully written illustrated manuals while useful in training classes will not help achieve it unless:

  • The crew is well lead
  • The leadership is knowledgeable in their duties
  • The equipment is well maintained and parts in good condition
  • The crew is well trained both in formal classes and by their leaders
  • The drills are conducted regularly, at least weekly, and are effective
  • New crew members are trained then drilled the first day at sea before becoming watchstanders
  • The watchstanding is of a high standard
  • Crews develop confidence in their abilities and are listened too when they have ideas
  • Good work is recognized
  • The crew are rotated in departmental duties and get proper rest off watch 
  • A Company truly respects their crews

The professional pride, personal pride, pride in the ship and pride in doing the job to the best level possible will be reflected in a much higher standard of safety for the vessel.

Good Watch


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES

It sometimes happens that one is going to write a Post on a subject when lo and behold there is already an excellent one.  Such is the case today; so rather than repeat everything let me refer you to the source of that Post

At present we are experiencing Perigean Spring Tides which occur when the Moon is at perigee on its oval path that is the closest point to Earth.  One of the principal results are higher than usual Spring Tides as against the Neap Tides.

Should you be interested in the full explanation of this phenomenon then you might like to reference "Old Salt Blog" which has an excellent explanation of this event and uses all the correct terms - quite unlike our Media here in South Florida.

Good Watch.

STANDING DOWN PROBLEMS CONTINUE

In addition to the recent "Standing Down" of training voyages for its Midshipersons the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) has received warnings about the quality, or lack thereof, of its training programme.  The Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE) report stated that accreditation was in jeopardy for non-compliance in certain areas.

Coupled with the continuing problems requiring disciplinary actions including dismissal from the Navy the United States Navy (USN) has had in recent years this does not bode well for the professionalism of the seafaring community of the United States.

It is clear to this writer, an International Master Mariner with 50 years of experience, that the training sources for both Officers and Ratings need an immediate complete examination and review.  Currently the Officer commanding riverine craft based in Bahrain has been dismissed.  Another nine Officers and Ratings are under disciplinary action as a result of the capture by…

FINALLY AN ATTEMPT TO RECOVER

NAUTICAL LOG has on previous occasions discussed the SS El Faro VDR in a Post titled RELUCTANCE TO RECOVER and two other Posts about the VDR (Voyage Data Recorder) of the SS El Faro

The Ship sank in Hurricane Joaquin on October 01, 2015 off the Bahamas.  There has seemed to be a reluctance by all parties involved to continue the attempt to recover the VDR from some 15,000 feet - admittedly a considerable depth.  However because of the importance of possible data on the recorder such an attempt must be made.

Finally the NTSB has contracted with the USN Supervisor of Salvage to assist in the recovery of the VDR.  The USNS Apache will depart in early July 2016 together with USCG, Phoenix International and an underwater operating vehicle the CURV-21.

Once the VDR is recovered it will be brought ashore to the NTSB laboratory and thoroughly studied to download and analyze the information.  With these results in hand the USCG will conduct a two hearings to investigate the sinking and questio…