Power interruptions and ineffective bridge resource management led to June 2014 grounding of the bulk carrier Atlantic Erie
Quebec, Quebec, 12 August 2015 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (M14C0106) into the 12 June 2014 grounding of the bulk carrier Atlantic Erie near Port Colborne, Ontario. There were no injuries or pollution, but the vessel sustained damage.
The Atlantic Erie was on a voyage from Chicago, Illinois, to Sydney, Nova Scotia. While transiting toward Port Colborne to enter the Welland Canal, the crew experienced power interruptions on the bridge caused by voltage drops from attempting to use the bow thruster. While applying the vessel's blackout procedure, further power interruptions on the bridge caused navigational equipment, such as the gyrocompass, to provide inaccurate information. The vessel then proceeded off its intended course and when the crew became aware of the situation, corrective action was ineffective and the vessel ran aground.
The investigation found that the bow thruster circuit tripped and caused a voltage drop throughout the vessel that activated a number of power failure alarms on the bridge. The crew interpreted the situation as being a blackout. The chief engineer applied the vessel's blackout procedure; however, this caused additional power interruptions on the bridge. These led to the gyrocompass becoming misaligned and the vessel being placed off course. Because not all available bridge resources were being used to monitor the vessel's progress, the vessel continued off course for approximately 15 minutes and ran aground.
Following the grounding, the vessel operator incorporated the occurrence as a case study in its training for masters and chief engineers. Mentors have also been hired to sail in the fleet to observe and further coach vessel crew members.
The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.
For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
- Date modified: