Kaami crew were warned by fishing boat of danger minutes before running aground

The crew of general cargo ship Kaami (IMO 9063885) was warned by a fishing boat the Kaami was heading for rocks just minutes before the vessel ran aground on Sgeir Graidach in the Little Minch, between the isles of Skye and Lewis, on March 23rd 2020. The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) in its report has stated that the crew’s planning for the voyage had not identified the rocks as a risk.

(IMN March 26th, 27th, April 1st, 8th, and subsequent dates)

The Kaami had been passing through the Little Minch while en route from Drogheda in Ireland to Slite in Sweden. The vessel was carrying pellets of a fuel made from waste.

A watchkeeper of a local fishing vessel warned the Kaami on a very high frequency radio channel it was headed towards a submerged ridge of rocks, but the vessel still ran aground at about 01:40 local time.

Further details, MAIB conclusions:

At 01:41 on March 23rd 2020 general cargo vessel Kaami ran aground on Sgeir Graidach shoal in the Little Minch on the west coast of Scotland, while on passage from Drogheda, Ireland to Slite, Sweden. The crew were safely evacuated from the vessel by coastguard helicopter and Kaami was successfully refloated by salvors on May 4th 2020. There were no injuries, but the damage to Kaami’s hull was extensive and the ship was declared a constructive total loss.

The MAIB investigation found that:

  • A full appraisal of information was not made in the voyage planning process, the master instead relying on previous experience of navigating the Little Minch, leading to the vessel not using an IMO-adopted recommended route.
  • No calculation of a minimum under keel clearance for the vessel in its departure state was undertaken, and as such the safety contour settings on the electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) were not correct. The safety contour values had not been changed since the crew had joined the vessel a month before.
  • A visual check of the route using appropriately scaled electronic navigation charts was not conducted and the ECDIS route safety check was not carried out.
  • A second check of the voyage plan did not take place, which meant the plan was created by a single person in isolation. With no ECDIS route safety check conducted, several errors, including two locations where Kaami would likely run aground were missed.
  • Monitoring of the passage was ineffective as the look ahead features on the ECDIS were not activated and the use of the lookout was not effective. It was probable that the chief officer was also suffering from the effects of fatigue.
  • The watchkeepers at Stornoway Coastguard Operations Centre did not intervene prior to Kaami’s grounding as they were unaware of the developing situation, even though the watchkeeper of a local fishing vessel had warned Kaami on very high frequency radio channel 16 a few minutes prior to the grounding.

Following this accident, actions have been taken by the ship managers, Misje Rederi AS, as well as the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Recommendations have been made to Misje Rederi AS to review the number of watchkeepers on its vessels, with the aim of minimizing the hazards associated with fatigue, improve the guidance given in its safety management systems on the effective use of ECDIS and of bridge lookouts, and to enhance its ability of conduct internal navigation audits.

1994-built, Bahamas-flagged, 2,715 gt Kaami is owned and ISM managed by Misje Rederi AS and managed by Misje Rederi AS, all of Bergen, Norway.