NTSB Re­port on HMCS Win­nipeg/Amer­i­can Dy­nasty

RCN News - - Contents -

. 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.

(Photo by Trans­porta­tion Safety Board [TSB] Canada)

Fish­ing ves­sel Amer­i­can Dy­nasty (white ves­sel at left) and Canadian Naval frigate Win­nipeg af­ter the col­li­sion.

(Photo by the NTSB)

Amer­i­can Dy­nasty at the Esquimalt ship­yard af­ter the col­li­sion.

(Back­ground by Google Earth)

Satel­lite im­age of the Pa­cific North­west near the US/ Canada bor­der.

(Back­ground by Google Earth)

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.

(Photo by the NTSB)

Sec­tion of the Amer­i­can Dy­nasty’s bridge con­trol con­sole with the red emer­gency stop but­tons.

(Photo by the Gov­ern­ment of Canada)

Win­nipeg un­der way in 2009.

(Photo by TSB Canada)

Dam­age to Pier 3C at the Canadian Forces Base in Esquimalt.

(Photo by the NTSB)

Dam­age to the bow of the Amer­i­can Dy­nasty.

(Pho­tos by TSB Canada)

Dam­age to Win­nipeg’s port side and star­board side.

(Photo by NTSB)

Amer­i­can Dy­nasty’s gen­er­a­tor’s dam­aged mag­netic pickup sen­sor.

(Pho­tos by NTSB)

Amer­i­can Dy­nasty’s aux­il­iary gen­er­a­tor.

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