Refloated cargo ship MV Fri Ocean escorted to Lynn of Lorne – and on into Oban

[12.45 update below] The Norwegian owned Nassau registered cargo ship, MV Fri Ocean, which grounded heavily on rocks south of Tobermory at 06.00 yesterday morning, is just now, 10.00, anchoring in the Lynn of Lorne, north of Oban Bay.

At 20.30 last night, her Master told Stornoway Coastguard that he had managed to refloat her on the tide, had made temporary repairs and was proceeding south through the Sound of Mull, at slow speed and under instructions, for an anchorage at Oban.

Tobermory Lifeboat stayed with her protectively all night and at 09.15, when they were off Oban Bay, Oban Lifeboat came out to meet them and the two RNLI lifeboats escorted Fri Ocean to the anchorage. Theyare now getting her anchored in the Lynn of Lorne.

Fri Ocean is carrying a full cargo of wood chip and a deck cargo of timber on passage form Beflast to Varberg in Sweden.

What happens now?

Her owners and the MCA will first need to know the nature and extent of the damage to her hull, which will need to be surveyed. There will have to be inspections, possibly by both the Classification Society and the MCA. Those inspections will determine what happens next. Her owners will obviously be keen to get her cargo to Sweden, since they will not be paid until it is delivered; but she will not be cleared to travel until she is safe, even if it is for a single passage to Varberg.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch [MAIB] will need to establish what happened in the her grounding on Mull, a fairly dramatic T-boning leaving her 30 yards up the beach. The MAIB are likely to wish to conduct interviews on the matter as soon as possible and these may take place on the boat while she in the Lynn of Lorne.

She is unlikely to be on the move for a few days.

Update 10.20: The Tobermory lifeboat has had a long and dutiful shout. She and the Oban lifeboat are still with the Fri Ocean and AIS shows the SAR craft, MCA Hunter, approaching the group from the NE.

Update 11.00: MV Fri Ocean now seems to be on the way into Oban Bay so the diversion into the Lynn of Lorne may have been to clear marine traffic in the bay at the time. She is now off Dunollie, wiht Tobermory lifeboat in company, Oban lifeboat ahead to starboard off Kerrera keeping the passage clear and MCA Hunter guarding the southern entrance to the bay from the Sound of Kerrera.

Update 11.15: MV Fri Ocean seems to be in the process of anchoring off the headland on Kerrera, south of Oban Marina on the island. Both lifeboats remain in attendance for this process. MCA Hunter is moving up to join the group.

Update 11.37: MV Fri Ocean is now at anchor. The Tobermory Lifeboat is moving out of Oban Bay on her way home after a very long shout; MCA Hnter has gone into the North Pier; and Oban Lifeboat is moving south into the Sound of Kerrera at 7 knots.

Update 12.45: Tobermory Lifeboat – the Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey – is just into her berth in Tobermory Bay – after a shout that will have been over 30 hours long. For some of the crew, this has been on top of a very long stint on Thursday, scrubbing the bottom of the lifeboat. Well done to coxswain and crew. The snail’s pace of the 12 hour passage through the night will have been very testing for concentration and the boat has done an impeccable job, staying on duty until the casualty was safely at anchor. There are some great photographs on her facebook page here.

For information on what happens next, see above.

As well as establishing the nature of the damage to the ship, there are a lot of questions to be answered on what led to the strange grounding; and questions on what the Fri Ocean was doing heading north out of the Sound of Mull last night, after making temporary repairs and getting herself refloated and before turning back down the Sound of Mull to Oban.

Note:

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12 Responses to Refloated cargo ship MV Fri Ocean escorted to Lynn of Lorne – and on into Oban

  1. This incident reminds me of a Fleetwood trawler that beached near Bunnahabhain distillery in years gone by, while in transit through the Sound of Islay; but she’s remained there to this day.

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    • Marine Accident Investigation Branch MAIB have now posted this casualty as a “current investigation”. It is always difficult to assess when an Interim Report will be published, complications may arise due to the owners nationality and ship’s port of registration – and their compliance with any investigation. The MAIB will wish to quickly establish the disposition and health of the ship’s personnel during the ship’s passage from Ireland, including the deviation up Loch Linnhe towards Fort William and mooring at Corpach prior to it’s passage up the Sound of Mull. In search of the Eastern passage to Varberg, bit like coals to Newcastle – trees to Sweden ? Not least will be the curious delay in reporting the grounding to the Coastguard and the attempt at the Sound’s Northern exit prior to setting course for Oban. Surely there must have been setting up of the bottom plates and double bottoms when she whacked the rocky beach at 10 knots – the similar sized Danio, which hit the Farne Islands, has extensive damage to bottom plates? It has shown how the Coastguard deployed some of it’s assets and the prominence and reliance on the volunteer RNLI. Has anybody heard of any crew being cautioned or charged in relation to the grounding? Possibe charges are neglecting to keep a safe watch, endangering the lives of shipmates, and endangering the environment.

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      • Not being a mariner, I wonder why – in this day and age of almost universal use of radar (and GPS?) for navigation – ships don’t seem to be equipped with a proximity alarm, a bloody great klaxon fit to waken the dead, that is triggered if the boat closes with an identifiable hazard.
        It would have to be capable of deactivation in harbour areas and, eg, places like the Corran Narrows – but would surely be invaluable, especially at night.
        Maybe it would be seen as a dangerous threat to the need for proper watch keeping.

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        • Hi Robert. Previous investigations have revealed the labyrinth of deceit surrounding OOW certification. Safety audits regularly turn-up Turkish Certificates gained “on-line” then re-validated through places such as The Republic of Panama. As was the case of the Coastal Isle’s grounding off Bute, where several certificates were judged to be fraudulently obtained. This is the murky world of third world certification and the crews that man shipping around our coasts. Ships may be well founded but Crewing Agencies and Company’s have to be more vigilant as to who they supply and employ. There is to be yet another re-validation of all certificates to try and stamp out this fraud – the cost to the individual is frightening, and may well convince many well qualified British certified officers that it’s just not worth the candle and best find a berth ashore.

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        • ECDIS systems have such alarms available, but the standard of training in their use is very patchy; even if you’re trained in their use, you have to set the alarms in the first instance. Coastal pilotage makes use of depth alarms problematic, better to just keep a good look out as SOLAS insists.

          I expect MIAB will find that chronic and/or acute crew fatigue will be a contributory factor; I also expect the IMO will continue to ignore the problem, as changing the minimum manning or rest hours rules might affect the wealth of shipowners.

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  2. Hey it is seamans life, true is…: 7 crew on board, completed loading at evening + securing of cargo, lashing + unmooring, All mooring unmooring and Navigation without Pilot, Coran point Loch etc.. All pushing Agent+ charters,receivers etc… as i know on this tipe of vessels all crew involved in securing of cargo, so 2nd mate and ch. mate also tired, 2nd mate go at watch at 24 and 100% tired … Continious soon. :)

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  3. For those not in the know the working hours are as follows:
    The limits on hours of work or rest shall be as follows:
    (a) maximum hours of work shall not exceed:
    (i) 14 hours in any 24-hour period; and
    (ii) 72 hours in any 7-day period;
    or
    (b) minimum hours of rest shall not be less than:
    (i) 10 hours in any 24-hour period; and
    (ii) 77 hours in any 7-day period.
    Hours of rest may be divided into no more than two periods one of which must be at least 6 hours in length.
    There is a notice posted of the hours expected to be worked on board and each crew member keeps an official log of actual hours of work/rest.
    This looks fabulous on paper. So far so good – but, of course, things get out of step and coasting, standbys and ports and all the broken hours and extra work interferes with the daily routine of life and very soon the sheet needs “tidying up” which also needs every sheet to agree – the rest as they say becomes just lies and statistics. Fatigue is constantly flagged up as an element in official reporting, indeed compared to previous decades the number of times it is sighted as a contributory factor in accidents, collisions and strandings is increasing. The shipping press is full of articles about fatigue, to reduce it will need a change of crewing regulations, which will increase industry costs so yet again the International Maritime Organisation will try to introduce a regulation that will take a decade(s) to ratify, whilst owners and Governments lobby for amendments and postponements. Don’t expect any backing from Westminster they’re all for “light touch” law and management. The way to change it is to lobby your MP as a NIMBY – Fatigue and marine casualties – not in my back yard

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  4. But why Port Terminals and people a shore working with normal rotation and working hours and Unions normaly control every …

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  5. Fri Ocean has previous.
    11/06/2013 – inspection Belfast. Found damage – hull cracking
    25/01/2012 – inspection Dundalk. Found expired Master and Officers certificates.
    21/10/2011 – 1 day Detention Seville. Found rest hours falsified
    Source – The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control.
    Sort of areas that need checking are:
    passage plan – possible lack of prepared information
    Structural Conditions – Hull damage impairing seaworthiness; Ballast, fuel and other tanks
    Safety of Navigation- Navigation records
    Certificate – Documents – Records of rest
    Safety of Navigation – Bridge operation; Monitoring of voyage or passage plan
    Propulsion and auxiliary machinery – Propulsion main engine; Steering gear
    Certificate & Documentation – Ship Certificates; Cargo Ship Safety Equipment (including exemption); Crew Certificates; Manning specified by the minimum safe manning docs
    Safety of Navigation; Magnetic compass (essential); ISM151 50
    Water/Weathertight conditions- Windows, sidescuttles and deadlights; Doors
    Living and Working Conditions
    Pollution prevention – Marpol Annex ; Retention of oil on board
    I suspect the Surveyors will have had a quick shuftie prior to a full survey and the Charterers, Owners and crew will not be happy bunnies right now. Any guess where she will be discharged prior to sailing for drydocking?

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    • Thanks for this.
      We saw she’d gone up to Corpach and assumed she would have gone there to unload before repairs – but this is good to know.
      Interestingly,Tobermory lifeboat, which attended Fri Ocean for 31 hours a week ago after she grounded, was also on the go yesterday.
      Details just published – but she went to Muck to a diver with the bends, to whom her crew gave immediate casualty care and then took to Oban. He seems to be recovering in hospital there

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