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Web Alert: Communication is key

News & Insights 8 August 2017

The latest video bulletin from CHIRP highlights case studies where communication can help prevent an incident.

The Standard Club is working with the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP) to promote safety at sea and accident prevention. CHIRP receives reports of hazardous incidents which they investigate with the ship's owner. The case studies and lessons learnt are published in their quarterly bulletin Maritime Feedback in both written and video form. These videos provide excellent material for discussion during a ship's safety committee meeting.

This bulletin focuses on the importance of communication.

In the first example, a ship is unmooring in an East African port. Despite the master and pilot making a plan, and a risk assessment being undertaken and risk measures being put in place, an incident occurred when the pilot gave instructions to the tugs to pull away from the dock without informing anyone on the bridge. It is important that a complete exchange of information takes place before tugs are secured, and also that the mooring crews have been given specific instructions regarding the operation they are undertaking, especially during mooring and line handling operations.

The second case study features a ship moored at open anchorage in severe wind conditions. As a result, the anchor began slipping from the brake and through the chain stopper. There were no instructions about how best to manage this situation and there had not been sufficient communication on board. When the crew did start hauling the anchor the windlass lost power due to a hydraulic leak and the motor needed to be replaced. As a result of this operation, the engine was required to keep the ship on station. Fortunately, in this example, the anchor was not lost, but there are many cases of avoidable anchor loss. All crews should be made aware that anchors are designed for sheltered waters, so in strong winds, the ship should be moved to safer water or open sea.

The bulletin then focuses on key best practices that can prevent injury and even save lives in an emergency. Using images submitted to CHIRP, the bulletin offers some simple tips that can help crews fulfil their role effectively in a high-pressure situation.

The bulletin is available here.

These safety bulletins rely on reports to be submitted from all sectors of the maritime industry. There is room for improvement in all shipping sectors, and CHIRP can use these reports to escalate problems to people who can make a difference, such as naval architects, classification societies and flag state authorities. Reports can be submitted at

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