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2016 Safety recommendations from the final report WIM 07/15 – ship Transforza & tugboat Kuguar

6. Safety Recommendations

State Commission on Maritime Accident Investigation has found it reasonable to formulate safety recommendations, forming the proposal of actions which may contribute to prevention of similar accidents in the future to the following bodies.

6.1. The Operator of Transforza

State Commission on Maritime Accident Investigation has recommended that the Company TransAtlantic Ship Management AB should:

1) instruct masters to prepare and implement watchkeeping schedules at port and at sea in such a way that, in accordance with the STCW Convention requirements, there was a duty seaman as a lookout on the bridge, apart from a watch officer, at night (in hours of darkness) and not only between 22:00 and 06:00;

2) instruct masters and officers responsible for preparing the voyage plan, when preparing the plan through narrow channels or fairways, to take into account the curvature of a track or passage by a sufficiently frequent changes of the course in order to observe the requirement of the COLREGS Regulation 9(a) to keep to the outer limit of a narrow channel or fairway.

6.2. The Operator of Kuguar

The State Commission on Maritime Accident Investigation has recommended that the Zakład Usług Żeglugowych Sp. o. o. & Co. Sp. K. should:

1) make changes to the scope of responsibilities set out in the work chart of the dispatcher who is responsible for supervising the work of the tug boat crews, allowing the dispatcher to check the condition of the crew members (not only on sobriety), in particular a skipper of a tug boat, before their commencement of towing services;

2) take other measures, in consultation with the JSG – FACH Sp. o. o. company responsible for hiring the crews of tug boats, including control measures, which would prevent bringing and consuming alcoholic beverages on board of owner’s tug boats;

3) carry out systematic trainings and inform crew members of tug boats and, in particular, their skippers, about the consequences of performing their duties after consuming alcohol, including those stipulated in art. 87 § 1 of the Act of 20 May 1971 – the Code of Offences ; or in a state of intoxication, stipulated  in art. 178a of the Act of 6 June 1997 – the Criminal Code  and art. 108 § 2 of the Act of 26 June 1974 – the Labour Code  and  in art. 127 § 1 point 7 of the Act of 18 August 2011on Safety at Sea;

4) abandon the practice of taking passengers aboard vessels unfit for that purpose. Moreover, the Commission has submitted for further consideration of the operator the possibility of equipping the vessels in AIS transponders. The introduction of AIS devices, which are compulsory, for example, on small fishing vessels  which are smaller than tug boats, would increase safety of navigation in water regions with heavy traffic. The operator’s tug boats could be sooner detected and shown on AIS monitors of the sea going vessels, and the AIS messages received by AIS devices on tug boats.

6.3. Pilot Station Szczecin

Regarding identified by the Commission repeated cases of cutting corners in the Świna channel by vessels piloted by pilots from the Station and the practice of piloting vessels contrary to the requirements of the COLREG Convention, the State Commission on Marine Accidents Investigation has recommended:

1) to instruct the pilots of the Station to advise the masters of piloted vessels whose size allows it, to keep as close as possible to the outer limit of the fairway in accordance with the requirements of Rule 9(a) of the COLREG Convention;

2) to encourage the pilots of the Station to use pilot electronic charts bearing the profile of the fairway, with which the pilots of the Station have been provided by the Szczecin Pilot company;

3) to instruct the pilots of the Station about the need of more frequent communication with the vessels navigating in the Świna channel from the opposite direction if they are not certain about the behaviour of a vessel or need to co-ordinate passing manoeuvres.

6.4. Maritime Administration

After analyzing the provisions on alcohol limits (permissible content of alcohol in blood or breath) binding in Polish law, the Commission noticed that in the Article 127 paragraph 1 point 7 of the Act of 18 August, 2011 on Safety at Sea there is a provision about a penalty establishing a fine for navigating a sea-going vessel or performing duties in the field of safety of the vessel, its protection and prevention of pollution of the marine environment, in a state of intoxication.

The provision about the penalty should refer to the order or prohibition expressed in a substantive provision. In other words, the penalty provided for in the act should refer to the violation of the order or prohibition clearly formulated in the Act (or binding international convention). The is no such provision – requiring specific behavior or prohibiting certain behavior – in the Act. The law on maritime safety has not provided for alcohol limits which should be observed by the crews of the sea-going vessels but it has provided for penalties for failure to comply with these limits. Such a solution is incompatible with the rules of legislative technique.

The State Commission on Maritime Accident Investigation has submitted for further consideration of the minister responsible for maritime economy the possibility of supplementing the provisions of the Act on Safety at Sea with substantive provision specifying in accordance with the provisions of the STCW Convention the limits of alcohol for crew members of sea-going vessels while performing their duties on board.