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Ferry hit rocks after misunderstanding

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/04/2016

The "Monte Stello" leaving Picton © Flickr-Sid Mosdell /CC 2.0 The "Monte Stello" leaving Picton A Cook Strait ferry hit rocks at the entrance to Tory Channel five years ago because of confusion on the bridge over its course.

The Monte Stello, which was being chartered to the Interislander, glanced a rock in the channel in May 2011 after the helmsman turned the rudder to starboard instead of port after an instruction from the ship's master.

Its hull was dented and a propeller damaged in the collision at around 6am.

A report found the error in direction was not picked up in time to prevent the ship hitting the rocks because proper procedures for checking instructions on the bridge were not followed.

The ship's master said he ordered a 15 degree turn to port which was what the third mate said he heard, while the helmsman and lookout later said the order was a 15 degree turn to starboard.

The helmsman failed to repeat the order and the master did not to follow up that his order had been understood, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission report said.

"The procedures for checking and cross-checking every action during critical phases of navigation ... were not being strictly followed by the bridge team," it said.

The commission found the team on the bridge fell short of the standard of navigation and only two of them had received formal bridge resource management training, which covers communications standards to ensure instructions are understood.

"The ship had not been fully embedded into the KiwiRail safety management charter and was only a short-term charter," it said.

"It (bridge resource management) must be a standard operating procedure fully understood and followed by all crews, all of the time. It only takes one bridge team failure to result in a serious accident."

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