Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The M/V Aratere Incident

The Maritime New Zealand report of the M/V Aratere incident has just been released. while it was determined that the vessel was constructed to take the large wave pounding.

I want you to note the damage done to this vessel, its crew and passengers.

Imagine a 44 ft sailboat like the Sean Seamour II taking these waves?

New Zealand – report re cargo shift on ferry

Maritime New Zealand issued the report of its investigation into the incident onboard a passenger ferry that experienced heavy rolling and cargo shifts during severe weather. Four passengers and one crewmember were injured and there was significant cargo damage. The report recommends, among other things, further review of weather parameters for Cook Strait crossings and improved training of bridge personnel for ship handling in heavy weather. (Report pdf Aratere 8/23/07).

The MV Aratere is a roll-on roll-off train ferry in service for Interislander in New Zealand. The ferry was built for Tranz Rail, now Toll NZ, in 1998 to replace the aging MV Aratika. The name Aratere means "Quick Path" in the Māori language.

The ships particulars include: Year Built 1998. Builder: Astillero Barreras, Spain. Introduced: 1999. Gross tonnage: 12,300 t. Flag: New Zealand. Passenger capacity: 369. Rail wagon capacity: 60 (425 m). Car capacity: 230. Length: 150m. Breadth: 20.25m. Maximum speed: 19.5kt. Engines: 2x Wartsila type 8L32 diesel engines, each producing 3,680 kW.

We previewed this vessel the Strait Shipping Company "Suilvan" back on June 8, 2007 with a post titled "Another Plane Of View". Speaking about how large waves effect large ships with this video from a shore-base view.

Aratere heavy weather report released
Media release



Aratere heavy weather report released

Improvements have been made to the way Cook Strait ferries are operated in rough weather following a thorough investigation into the heavy rolling of the Aratere on 3 March 2006.

In releasing Maritime New Zealand’s final report into the incident today (Thursday 23 August), Director Catherine Taylor said while the vessel was capable of withstanding the heavy rolls it encountered, all parties involved accepted that passengers should not have been put in such a position.

“Passenger safety is Maritime New Zealand’s number one priority. This is why we’ve conducted a rigorous investigation, which contains 14 safety recommendations that have already been implemented to improve heavy weather sailing in Cook Strait. This is to ensure that passengers aren’t placed in a situation like this again.”

The report found that during the voyage in rough seas, the Aratere rolled twice to about 50 degrees, with a third roll of approximately 30 degrees occurring when an attempt was made to turn the vessel into the weather.

“Maritime New Zealand considers that although the Aratere itself was sound and was capable of handling the rough seas it encountered, this was still a very serious incident which was understandably very upsetting and uncomfortable for many on board.”

The heavy rolling caused minor injuries to five of the 381 people on board and caused some cargo to break free, damaging rail and vehicular freight. The Aratere arrived safely in Picton several hours later. Other vessels operating in Cook Strait at the same time completed their voyages without incident.

Ms Taylor said MNZ’s final report had considered a wealth of evidence, including eye witness accounts, the advice of overseas experts and technical information from the ship’s voyage data recording instruments. “Based on this evidence, MNZ has concluded that a combination of factors caused the Aratere to roll heavily. While the heavy rolling would have been alarming for those on board, the technical evidence we received appears to conflict with reports that the ship was in serious danger.”

Ms Taylor said the final report also considered the seamanship displayed during the voyage, including the actions of the master and bridge team, as well as issues relating to the cargo lashing system.

“While the report found that the decision to sail was reasonable based on the information available at the time, both Interislander and Maritime New Zealand consider that teamwork on the bridge following the first heavy rolling incident was not functioning as effectively as it should have been.

“Both organisations have been working closely together to address this issue and have implemented a number of safety recommendations.”

Among the actions taken by Interislander is a full review of decision-making relating to rough weather crossings, additional training for ferry masters and crew, improvements to cargo lashing systems and significant investment in overhauling and upgrading the ferries Aratere, Arahura and Kaitaki. Maritime New Zealand has also improved its process for distributing information to ferry companies.

“The purpose of all incident investigations is for the parties involved to learn from them to improve safety, and this is exactly what has happened in this case. Maritime New Zealand’s number one priority is, as always public safety, and we will continue to work with all ferry operators to ensure that the Cook Strait remains a safe place for all to travel.”

Ms Taylor said the report commended the Aratere’s on-board staff for the level of care they displayed towards the passengers during the voyage, and the way in which they kept them informed of the developing situation.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission also today released its final report into the incident.


Safety Recommendations implemented following 3 March 2006 incident

1. It is recommended that Maritime New Zealand:

- Facilitates discussions between the Interislander, Strait Shipping, Wellington Regional Council, Marlborough Regional Council, and the Wellington and Marlborough Harbourmasters through the Cook Strait Ferry Review. These discussions should consider appropriate weather parameters for ferry sailings, including the need for harbourmasters to be consulted on the appropriateness of ferries sailing when wave heights and wind speeds reach certain levels. These discussions have already occurred and are ongoing.

- Continues to conduct ongoing audits of Bridge Resource Management, navigational practice and the lashing system on Aratere and examination of cargo manifests of rail wagons carried, for compliance with the amended Cargo Securing Manual. Ongoing.

- Conducts ongoing audits of all Cook Strait ferries to ensure that trucks are lashed in accordance with the cargo lashing manual. Ongoing.

- Conducts ongoing audits to monitor the implementation of corrective actions proposed by Interislander. Ongoing.

- Reviews its procedures for promulgating safety information, including pertinent IMO circulars. Completed.

2. It is recommended that Interislander:

- Reviews and documents its procedures for downloading VDR information following an accident or incident and ensures that ships’ masters and officers have the knowledge and ability to do so. Completed.

- Ensures that helmspersons on its vessels are adequately trained and practised so that they can competently steer the vessel in all weather conditions. Completed.

- Conducts random, unannounced, command assessments of its masters and officers to check their knowledge of the equipment they use and its limitations, and knowledge of, and compliance with, company procedures. Ongoing.

- Formalises a policy that Masters and, if appropriate, officers and crew, are stood down from duty following a significant accident or incident for recovery, and to ensure their availability for internal and external investigations. Completed.

- Resolves confusion over optimum rudder angles, in particular the operating conditions applicable to high-lift rudders. Completed.

- In conjunction with its ships’ masters, review the use of stabilisers when running down weather in heavy weather conditions, and in particular when there is a risk that the vessel may be subject to surf riding. Completed.

- Require masters and deck officers to undergo initial training in heavy weather ship handling followed by regular refresher training. Completed.

- Extend the simulation modelling being carried out by naval architects into ship/tide/weather interactions in the Cook Strait, to include interaction between the ship and conditions likely to be experienced in the entrance channel to Wellington Harbour and the eastern entrance to Tory Channel in severe southerly weather. Completed.

- Provide MNZ with the results of any internal investigation and follow up action as a matter of course, rather than being required to do so. Ongoing.


Weather Story ...Well here is the rain totals for Chicago from from July through August by Northern Illinois University...

After a major event (we're still awaiting official word from the USGS and hydrologists on what type of event this was, IE, one in a 50 or 100 year flood, etc), people have been asking if that was a record rainfall we had last week.Rockford and Madison, WI have had their wettest Augusts ever, so how are we doing?

To answer that question, let's look at July and August 2007 up until

July 2007: 8.20"

August 2007 (so far): 11.64"

July-August 2007 combined rainfall total: 19.84"

The top 4 wettest Augusts ever:
1. 14.23" -1987
2. 11.64" -2007

3. 11.17" -1900

4. 10.94" -1937

The top wettest July-August combined totals ever:
20.14" -1987 19.84" -2007 17.58" -1996 16.77" -1900

We still have essentially 3 more days to go to add to the totals. There is
a possibility that if we get .30" of rain Tuesday evening into Wednesday, we would tie the wettest July-August combined ever.

Finally, I had two brief periods to go out and take a few pictures of the
flooding here on campus on Friday.

I took these around Barsema Hall,
Gilbert Hall/Music building, Castle Drive, inbetween Faraday and Faraday West, and from my perch here on Davis Hall (the silly flash wouldn't shutoff on those pictures---sorry about that): http://weather.admin.niu.edu/floodof2007/ But still, some good pix in there nonetheless.

Yes, that's an upset beaver
in there on Castle Drive, annoyed that his dam is now somewhere on the Mississippi River. He walked right in front of me, but I didn't have my camera ready at that moment.

Also, Dr. Walker Ashley, a meteorology professor here at NIU, who had more
time, got a considerably better variety and angle of shots: http://thetae.blogspot.com

Thanks to Dave Changnon for the help in acquiring the data, and to the
220,000 on and off-campus visitors *each day* between Wednesday and Friday of last week who used our site, setting a usage record in our nearly 9 year history!

Gilbert Sebenste
(My opinions only!)
Staff Meteorologist, Northern Illinois University
E-mail: sebenste@weather.admin.niu.edu
web: http://weather.admin.niu.edu