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Unprepared ship, bad communication factors in B.C. ship crash: TSB

A report examines the 2019 crash of bulk carriers Caravos Harmony and Pan Acacia
Two ships collided in Vancouver Harbour in 2019 after one lost power, but no one was injured and no pollutants were released. (Saga Monal)

The Transportation Safety Board says poor communication and unprepared equipment played key roles in a crash involving two tanker ships in the middle of Vancouver’s harbour.

The board has released its report examining the crash of the bulk carrier Caravos Harmony into another bulk carrier, the Pan Acacia, in 2019.

Both vessels were damaged, with the larger, anchored ship punctured just above the water line, but the report says no one was hurt and there was no spill of cargo or other pollutants.

It says strong currents pushed the Caravos Harmony as it entered the harbour, engine power couldn’t correct the swing and neither of the ships’ anchors had been prepared to drop, meaning they couldn’t be used as an emergency tactic to slow the vessel and drag it back on course.

The board says the ship’s captain also misunderstood the pilot’s commands and ordered release of the port anchor when it was finally ready, pulling the Caravos Harmony even further to the left, directly into the side of the motionless Pan Acacia.

A risk assessment by two organizations that manage ship pilots in B.C. led to changes in the way loaded bulk carriers are guided into Vancouver’s harbour on strong tides, and the report says ships are now allowed to refuel outside the harbour, cutting down on traffic in the busy waterway.

RELATED: No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

The Canadian Press

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