NTSB Report on HMCS Winnipeg/American Dynasty
. On April23, 2013, at 0817 local time, the US-flag commercial fishing vessel American Dynasty was approaching the graving dock at Esquimalt in British Columbia, Canada, when it lost electrical power and propulsion control. The vessel veered off course and collided with a Canadian Navy frigate, HMCS (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship) Winnipeg FFH338 (“Winnipeg”), moored nearby. Both vessels sustained extensive structural damage, and the naval pier required repairs. Six shipyard workers suffered minor injuries. The American Dynasty, an ice-classed factory stern trawler, operated in the Pacific Ocean from its home port of Seattle, Washington. Originally designed as an offshore supply vessel, it was converted to a fishing vessel in 1989 and could carry up to 140factory employees in addition to its required crew of nine. The American Dynasty was equipped with two main diesel engines connected to a single hydraulically powered, ducted (shrouded) controllable pitch (CP) propeller. The CP system could be controlled from the bridge or from the engine room. The trawler was also fitted with a single-tunnel bow thruster in the forward section of the hull. For electrical power, the trawler had two main engine shaft pickup generators, an auxiliary diesel generator, and an emergency diesel generator. It also had three sets of 24-volt direct-current emergency batteries. On the evening on April22, 2013, the day before the accident, the American Dynasty departed Seattle for an 80-mile voyage through Puget Sound to Esquimalt, on the southeast shore of Vancouver Island, Canada. There, the trawler was to undergo a scheduled dry dock inspection before the start of its next fishing season. While in port in Seattle, the chief engineer had been using the emergency generator on its harbor mode setting to generate electrical power. When in harbor mode, the emergency generator was not able to automatically start in the event of a power loss. Before the American Dynasty departed Seattle, the 9-person crew had conducted pre-departure tests of the required equipment. The propulsion control was transferred to the bridge, and about 2205 the American Dynasty departed Seattle.
Shortly thereafter, the United States Coast Guard contacted the crew after determining that the trawler’s automatic identification system (AIS) was not transmitting. The American Dynasty master, who was not the vessel’s regular master and served in a relief capacity on this voyage, resolved the AIS problem after consulting the trawler’s regular master via telephone, the chief officer, and the owner’s manual.
At 0710 the next morning, April 23, the American Dynasty boarded a British Columbia coast pilot and an apprentice pilot near Vancouver Island for the approach to Esquimalt. At 0735, the master reduced the CP system to zero-thrust position and maintained the vessel’s heading using the bow thruster. At 0805, a docking pilot boarded the American Dynasty from the harbor assist vessel Seaspan Foam. The American Dynasty crew then tied up the Seaspan Foam at the trawler’s stern. A second harbor assist vessel, the Charles H. Cates XX, was tied to the trawler’s port bow. Once both assist vessels were secured, the docking pilot assumed control of the American Dynasty and, about 0815, he requested that the master shut off both main engines and the radars to prepare for entering the Esquimalt graving dock. The master called the engine room, and the oiler answered (the chief engineer had stepped out to use the restroom). The master did not determine who answered the call, but simply stated that he was transferring propulsion control and then hung up. At 0816, the master transferred the CP control to the engine room. The oiler had never previously accepted propulsion control, and he consulted with the electrician who was in the engine room. The electrician advised the oiler to accept the propulsion control by pushing a button on the CP panel. However, the main engines also needed to be shut off, which the master did not communicate and which the oiler did not know. After accepting propulsion control, the oiler left the room and entered the machinery space to stop an ongoing fuel oil transfer in preparation for the repair facility. The CP system was set at zero pitch, but both main engines were clutched in and turning the propeller shaft. The vessel’s speed was 1.6knots.
On the bridge, the master continued to shut off navigation equipment. After he had hung up the phone with the oiler, he shut off both steering pumps and the bow thruster motor. About 15seconds after the propulsion control transfer, the American Dynasty experienced a complete loss of electrical power. The auxiliary generator was still running, but the breaker that tied the power to the main electrical power bus had been tripped open. At that point, the trawler was about 2,500feet from the graving dock entrance. The chief engineer and the oiler quickly returned to the engine room when the power loss occurred. The chief engineer tried to reconnect the auxiliary generator to the main switchboard but was unable to. In addition, because the emergency generator had not been changed from harbor to emer- gency mode after leaving Seattle and was not set to provide emergency backup power in the event of a power loss, the trawler was dark. The CP control system had also lost power. The trawler’s main engines were still running and turning the propeller shaft.
On the bridge, the British Columbia coast pilot noticed that the trawler’s speed was increasing and that the heading was drifting to starboard toward the Canadian Forces Base in Esquimalt. Also, the master noticed propeller wash behind the vessel and tried to call the engine room using the service phone, but it had lost power and was inoperative. The master could have used the available sound-powered phone or portable radio to contact the engine room, but instead asked the chief officer on the bridge to go to the engine room for an update.
The crews on the harbor assist vessels also realized that the speed was increasing and that the trawler was turning away from the graving dock entrance. The master on the Seaspan Foam paid out additional line and tried to pull on the American Dynasty’s stern, but the force of the trawler’s acceleration overpowered and damaged the brake on the tow winch. Meanwhile, the master on the Charles H. Cates XX tried to pull the American Dynasty’s bow to port and in line with the graving dock entrance, but the towline parted and the trawler veered to starboard and gained further speed. The American Dynasty was now rapidly approaching the Winnipeg, a Halifax-class frigate moored starboard-side-to the west side of Pier3C at the Canadian Forces Base, undergoing maintenance. Numerous shipyard workers and uniformed personnel were on board the Winnipeg.
The chief engineer was unaware of the impending collision and continued his efforts to manually close the breaker connecting the auxiliary generator to the main switchboard to re- gain electrical power. He also tried to close the breakers for both shaft generators to energize the switchboard, but failed. Shortly thereafter, the auxiliary generator shut down. The chief engineer left the engine room and entered the machinery space to investigate why the auxiliary generator had stopped. About this time, the master ordered the anchor dropped and tried to sound the trawler’s whistle, which had not been tested before leaving Seattle and which was nonfunctioning. Neither the master nor the pilots tried pressing the main engines’ emergency stop buttons, which were located prominently on the bridge control console. Pressing these buttons would have stopped the propeller shaft from rotating and would have reduced the trawler’s speed. The speed had now increased to 5knots, and when it became obvious that a collision was imminent, the crew abandoned the attempt to use the anchor.
At 0817, the bow of the American Dynasty struck the port side of the Winnipeg. The collision causing the frigate’s stern to pull away from the dock, damaging the vessel’s starboard side and Pier3C. Six shipyard workers on board the Winnipeg sustained minor injuries in the collision.
The American Dynasty’s bow shell plating, forepeak tank, chain locker, and deck plating were deformed as a result of the collision. The damage was estimated at $450,000.
The Winnipeg sustained buckled deck plating and indentations in the shell plating on both port and starboard sides. A section of steel rebar penetrated the shell plating at frame14. At the stern, the starboard side of the transom corner above the waterline made contact with the pier and was damaged. No damage estimate was released for the Winnipeg, but its damage was substantially greater than the American Dynasty’s. The concrete and wood fenders of Pier3C were crushed when the Winnipeg made contact with it. Forty feet of concrete pier were crushed, and 100feet of wooden beams were split and displaced. The cost of repairs to the pier was estimated to be $75,000. In addition, harbor assist vessels Seaspan Foam and Charles H. Cates XX sustained damage to their towing equipment when the American Dynasty began to accelerate. No cost estimate was available for these repairs. Toxicological testing was conducted on the American Dynasty crew, and the results were negative.
After the accident, investigators examined all of the equipment to determine the cause of the power loss. The decrease in electrical load that occurred when the master shut off equipment, such as the bow thruster motor, caused a change in the auxiliary generator’s speed and frequency. This change, in turn, likely caused the generator breaker to trip open on the main switchboard. Ultimately, the auxiliary generator’s diesel engine also shut down.
Investigators found a damaged magnetic pickup sensor on the auxiliary generator’s diesel engine. This sensor was supposed to emit a signal to the engine’s speed control unit, allowing controllers to regulate the engine’s speed; if the sensor failed, the engine was designed to shut down. However, investigators discovered that a failsafe feature on the auxiliary generator’s control panel had been disabled with a bypass jumper wire and this prevented the engine from shutting down when the sensor failed. It could not be determined when or why the failsafe had been disabled, nor why the auxiliary generator’s engine eventually shut down despite the bypass.
Because the emergency generator was not set to start automatically and accept the electrical load once the auxiliary generator shut down, the trawler’s emergency batteries should then have provided power to the CP control system. However, investigators found that the batteries, which were supposed to automatically supply power to several of the trawler’s essential systems during a power loss, were incapable of holding a sufficient charge. Although the crew kept a log that tracked the testing of the batteries, no established schedule was in place for their
maintenance or replacement. All of the batteries had last been replaced in 2009.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/117123125@N07/ Further, investigators found that the CP system had a leak in the hydraulic oil distribution box, and the actuator allowed hydraulic oil to leak by, which enabled the propeller pitch to be in the ahead-direction during a power loss. The CP oil distribution system and seals were scheduled for overhaul during the Esquimalt shipyard period.
Fishing vessel American Dynasty (white vessel at left) and Canadian Naval frigate Winnipeg after the collision.
American Dynasty at the Esquimalt shipyard after the collision.
Satellite image of the Pacific Northwest near the US/ Canada border.
Aerial view of Esquimalt Harbor. The graving dock to which the American Dynasty was headed is located in the upper right. Overlaid in the image are icons (not to scale) representing the American Dynasty and the Winnipeg.
Section of the American Dynasty’s bridge control console with the red emergency stop buttons.
Winnipeg under way in 2009.
Damage to Pier 3C at the Canadian Forces Base in Esquimalt.
Damage to the bow of the American Dynasty.
Damage to Winnipeg’s port side and starboard side.
American Dynasty’s generator’s damaged magnetic pickup sensor.
American Dynasty’s auxiliary generator.