The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has released its findings relating to the accident that killed two crew members on a tug assisting the container ship CMA CGM Simba at the port of Tulear, Madagascar, on September 20, 2016.
The tug Domingue girted and capsized with five crew on board as it was helping to pull the vessel’s stern off the berth.
During the maneuver, the prevailing tidal conditions caused CMA CGM Simba (pictured below) to move towards a mooring dolphin.
MAIB reported that CMA CGM Simba’s master briefly maneuvered his vessel ahead to avoid striking the dolphin.
However, the pilot did not warn the tug that they would be coming ahead, and as CMA CGM Simba built up speed, it girted and capsized Domingue.
The investigation found that the Domingue was less maneuverable than the port’s normal tug which was undergoing maintenance.
Domingue's five crew were also inexperienced in assisting ships.
The tug also lacked a gog rope and the towing point was found not to have any mechanism to release the tow in an emergency.
Doors and hatches on the tug were open and no-one on board CMA CGM Simba monitored the tug’s position during the maneuver.
MAIB found that the extent to which a plan for CMA CGM Simba’s departure had been discussed between the pilot and Domingue’s skipper before commencement was “uncertain”.
It added: “In view of current published guidance and the actions since taken by Midocean (IOM), no recommendations have been made.
“The scope of the MAIB investigation has focused on aspects concerning the involvement of CMA CGM Simba with only observations relating to the tug Domingue owing to limited access to evidence.
“The Madagascar maritime authority, Agence Portuaire, Maritime et Fluviale (APMF), has confirmed it is conducting a safety investigation into the causes and circumstances of the accident in accordance with the International Maritime Organization’s Casualty Investigation Code, but has not advised when its report will be published.”