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Yet another accident that STM probably would have stopped

Yet another accident that STM probably would have stopped

Published: February 08, 2018

On August 29 2017, the “Star of Sawara” grounded in Danish Waters. Three months later this might not have happened, and had she had STM on-board, she would definately have been warned ahead!

August 29, the “Star of Sawara” is sailing from the Baltic towards the North Sea, planning to voyage through the Greater Belt in Denmark. However, she never reached that far.

In 2017, no ships had STM-enabled navigation systems on-board. Nevertheless, let us assume that she had made her voyage plan in adherence with the traffic separation scheme (TSS) for the main Greater Belt passage. Had she had STM-equipment on-board and had she shared her voyage plan with a Route Check-service it would probably had given a green light to the plan. So no improvement with STM… so far.

When the ship reached the TSS between Denmark and Germany, she started to behave in a way that would have triggered alarms had there been an STM Enhanced Monitoring service.

1) At 08:43 she leaves the TSS by sailing too much starboard (Alarms 1-3 in the illustrations below)
2) At 09:29 she comes into the wrong lane, the port lane instead of the starboard lane – sailing in the opposite direction of the traffic. (Alarm 4)
3) At 10:38 she leaves the TSS sailing too much to the starboard again (Alarms 5-6)
4) At 10:43 she runs aground (Grounding)

The approach to the grounding. Illustration: Navicon

Had there been a monitoring service, it might have caught the errors, even if the “Star of Sawara” was not an STM-enabled ship, for example by assigning the ship a standard route and detect deviations. In November 2017 Navicon updated the Danish Navy’s Montoring system to be STM-enabled and being able to assigning standard routes. But that was three months too late for the “Star of Sawara”!

With STM, the final error would have been caught, and a communication to the ship would have been established already by the first error. We can imagine other STM services that would have prevented all the errors, e.g. Navigational Assistance, an experienced officer ashore being a virtual deck officer.

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