The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has issued guidance regarding a near-miss reported between a Stena ropax and a UK submarine.
At 1256 hrs on 6th November, 2018, Stena ‘Superfast VII’s’ officer of the watch took urgent action to avoid a submerged submarine after its periscope had been spotted close ahead of the ferry (Pic from Stena Line).
Post-event analysis showed that, prior to the ferry’s course alteration, there had been a serious risk of collision, MAIB said.
In its report MAIB said that this near miss happened because the submarine’s control room team had underestimated the ferry’s speed and overestimated its range, resulting in an unsafe situation developing.
However, the submarine’s control room electronic tactical display presented a picture of a safer situation than reality; this meant that safety-critical decisions made on board the submarine may have appeared rational at the time.
MAIB safety issues –
*Safety-critical decisions need to be made based on accurate information.
*Passage planning should identify all potential hazards and effective mitigations.
*Maintaining a good lookout is vital for the safety of all vessels.
The UK’s Royal Navy has taken a series of actions in response to this and similar previous accidents.
As a result, a safety recommendation (2020/124) has been made to the Royal Navy to undertake an independent review to ensure that the actions taken have been effective in reducing the risk of a further collision.