A report highlighting a delay to the berthing of a cruise liner due to a faulty stabiliser fin.
What the reporter told us:
Our vessel, a large cruise liner, was entering port. Upon arrival at the final approach to the inward channel, the vessel’s port stabilizer failed to house. Recognising the serious problems that this might incur, the vessel aborted the entry to allow the issue to be resolved. The ship’s engineers managed to overcome the problem and house the port stabiliser by manually overriding the automatic system after a delay of about 30 minutes. The vessel then recommenced port entry with no further issues.
The Maritime Advisory Board members, after discussion, noted the following points
- This could have been a serious incident with very expensive consequences.
- The ER / Bridge communications were good on this ship.
- The ship’s operating procedures worked.
- If there is any suspicion that an automatic system may have malfunctioned it is essential that the personnel responsible for the equipment or system carry out whatever checks are necessary to positively confirm the actual status of the equipment and to rectify any defect.
- Safety critical systems should be checked and be proven to be operational well ahead of the .time they may be needed. Manual override of remote-control systems should also be tested at the same time to ensure that they operate correctly.
From a navigational perspective it is worth noting that the report states that the vessel was on the final approach to the inward channel. The fact that the vessel did abort the inbound transit is a very good indication that the bridge team were well aware of the “final abort position”, where you are fully committed to the port approach, and acted accordingly before it was too late.