Combination of events led to two tug fatalities, says MAIB

A combination of unrelated misfortunes appears to have been the cause of a collision between a containership and its tug off the port of Tulear, Madagascar, according to a limited-scope investigation by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Board (MAIB).

At approximately 17.45 local time on September 20th 2016 tug Domingue girted and capsized while assisting the container ship CMA CGM Simba in the port of Tulear, Madagascar. As a result of the accident, two of Domingue’s five crew died.
Domingue had been connected to CMA CGM Simba’s port quarter to help pull the vessel’s stern off the berth. During the manoeuvre the prevailing tidal conditions caused CMA CGM Simba to move towards an outlying mooring dolphin. To avoid striking the dolphin, CMA CGM Simba’s master briefy manoeuvred his vessel ahead, during which time Domingue girted and capsized.

MAIB noted that Domingue was less manoeuvrable than the port’s normal tug, which was undergoing maintenance, and its crew were inexperienced in assisting ships. The tug was not fitted with a gog rope, nor did the towing point have any mechanism to release the tow in an emergency, and doors and hatches on the tug were open. The extent to which a plan for CMA CGM Simba’s departure had been discussed between the pilot and Domingue’s skipper before commencement is uncertain, and during the manoeuvre no-one on board CMA CGM Simba monitored the tug’s position.

In view of current published guidance and the actions since taken by Midocean (IOM) Ltd, no recommendations have been made by MAIB. The MAIB investigation focused on aspects concerning the involvement of CMA CGM Simba with only observations relating to the tug Domingue owing to limited access to evidence. MAIB said that the Madagascar maritime authority, Agence Portuaire, Maritime et Fluviale (APMF), had confrmed that it was conducting a safety investigation into the causes and circumstances of the accident in accordance with the International Maritime Organization’s Casualty Investigation Code, but that it had not advised when its report will be published. vReport16_2017.pdf