Pilot criticized over CMA CGM Centaurus allision

The UK’s Marine Accident Incident Branch (MAIB) has released its report into an incident last year in which UK registered container ship CMA CGM Centaurus (IMO 9410777) made heavy contact with the quay and two shore cranes while executing a turn under pilotage during its arrival at Jebel Ali, UAE.

The accident resulted in the collapse of a shore crane and 10 injuries, one of them serious, to shore personnel.

MAIB established that CMA CGM Centaurus was going too fast for the intended manoeuvre when the pilot started the turn. The pilot was aware that the ship might have been travelling a little faster than he would have liked when he initiated the turn, but was nevertheless confident that the ship would be able to complete it.

The ship’s bridge team were uncertain of the maximum speed required to complete the turn safely.

MAIB said that there was no agreed plan for the intended manoeuvre, and therefore “no shared mental model between the bridge team and the pilot”. Consequently, the pilot was operating in isolation without the support of the bridge team. That in turn enabled the pilot’s decision-making to become a single system point of failure.

MAIB observed that the pilot’s performance was focused on efficiency, which influenced his decision to turn the ship into the basin without ensuring that the manoeuvre was conducted at a sufficiently slow speed to enable its safe completion.

The pilot’s decision to turn at high speed was not challenged by the ship’s bridge team effectively because that team lacked the necessary knowledge and experience to be able to intervene with confidence and correct the pilot’s action.

MAIB said that the size of container ships had grown at a rapid pace, but ports remained largely the same. Margins for error were therefore decreasing.

The investigators said that it was “imperative that pilots and ships’ bridge teams work together and implement the best practices of Bridge Resource Management to ensure the safety of both ships and ports”.

Action had been taken by CMA Ships to improve onboard pilotage management throughout its fleet.

The report recommended that DP World UAE Region improve its management of pilotage and berthing operations in respect of large container ship movements within the port of Jebel Ali. A recommendation was also made to the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Maritime Pilots’ Association and the International Harbour Masters’ Association to promote the benefits of adhering to effective bridge resource management procedures during acts of pilotage and to endorse the Bridge Resource Management training for pilots course as an effective means of achieving this.

2010-built, UK-flagged, 131,331 gt CMA CGM Centaurus is owned by Alize 1996 SNC care of manager CMA CGM SA of Marseille, France. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of Alize 1996.