Human error blamed in Blue Puttees incident

One employee no longer with company after ferry ran aground in Port aux Basques

Published on September 13, 2013
This shed bore the brunt of the damage when the Blue Puttees hit the wharf in Port aux Basques July 31. It was lifted off its foundation. — TC Media file photo

A single employee was at fault when the MV Blue Puttees ran aground in Port aux Basques on July 31, a spokesman for Marine Atlantic says.

Darrell Mercer confirmed the quartermaster who was on the bridge that day is no longer an employee for the company.

Investigations, both internally and externally, started immediately following the incident to determine its cause and prevent a similar incident in the future.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) provided Marine Atlantic with letters outlining the cause of the incident and recommendations for consideration.

Information provided by the TSB said when the MV Blue Puttees was departing its berth, the master ordered 10 degrees port rudder and applied 50 per cent ahead propeller pitch.

The quartermaster incorrectly applied 10 degrees starboard rudder instead.

After 42 seconds, the master observed the vessel was moving to starboard and realized that the rudder order had been applied the wrong way.

The master applied full astern pitch, but the vessel’s speed had already reached 9.6 knots, and the ship grounded before it could be stopped.


Little damage

The MV Blue Puttees had 398 passengers on board and 91 crew members, and ran aground a minute and half after departure.

There were no injuries or pollution and the vessel was freed during the next high tide.

The bulbous bow was damaged and a ballast tank was punctured.

As a result of the findings by the TSB, Marine Atlantic is taking actions to prevent similar incidents from happening.

Marine Atlantic is now working with the National Research Council to complete research on the speed at which vessels enter and exit port in each of the harbours, according to Mercer.

He said all factors will be

included in this research, such as

weather conditions and tide conditions. Researchers will also take into account land such as Vardy’s Island.

Right now, he said, they are in the early stages of this research.


The Gulf News