Gulf of Khambat (Cambay) on West coast India is a place of one of the strongest tidal streams in World. Anchoring equipments get tested to their limits in some of the anchorage ports in this Gulf with tidal streams of 8 to 9 knots during spring tides.
MV EDINSHIP arrived to an Anchorage in Gulf Of Khambat with full load of coal in Bulk loaded from Richards Bay. Drawing 12 m even keel, the lady was at her summer drafts. Master had immense experience in rank though it was his and vessel’s first call to this Gulf. What was supposed to be a regular call to a disport turned out to be a nightmare.
Events Post Anchoring
· Within few hours of anchoring, Firstly vessel lost her Starboard Anchor 30 minutes before High Water during flood tide.
· Vessel lost Port Anchor the same day during next flood tide. This anchor was lost 3 hours after Low Water.
· No cargo could be discharged so far.
· Vessel Off hired by charterers.
· Vessel moved out of Gulf of Khambat and commenced drifting in Arabian Sea till the time she could be provided with another anchor. After Nine days Owners managed to arrange another anchor which was fitted on port bow and then vessel anchored again.
Vessel lost this Anchor also. Anchor was lost 3 hours after High Water during ebb tide.
How’s & Why’s
Reason for Anchor Loss:
Improper Design of Bow Stopper- Chafing of Bow stopper by around 40 mm created space below anchor to let anchor run away.
As per the BA and Indian charts maximum tidal streams was shown about 4 knots during Spring tides. However actually tidal streams reach 8 to 9 Knots during spring tides.
As per the port instructions second anchor has to be dropped under foot, two shackles on deck during strong tidal streams between HW and LW. This anchor has to be picked up before change of tides from cables getting fouled. It would have been prudent if vessel would have moved out of anchorage area after losing her first anchor and wait for supply of another anchor so as to be ready with two anchors again. When she lost her anchor second and third time, she had only one anchor on her and no support was available in form of second anchor.
Vessel was able to discharge her first grab of cargo only after 20 days of offhire.
Owners suffered loss of 200,000 USD for anchors & chains loss.
An additional hire loss of approximately 300,000 USD for owners.
Cargo Receivers suffered huge losses as shore plant kept on waiting for cargo for more than 20 days.
Overall loss to Maritime Industry
Lessons from a successful discharge:
Vessels do not call ports to test their anchoring equipments but to discharge or load cargo. Here the challenge was to discharge the cargo. Such situations require out of box thinking as vessel’s anchoring equipment had failed repeatedly. So a decision was made, not to drop anchor and discharge cargo underway. Idea was to keep Vessel on a heading facing the tidal streams and drift and use Engines as and when required. Since slack water is for a very short duration vessel could be made to drift either in Northerly or Southerly direction. So an area North and South of vessel’s position was identified for safe drifting. East-West drift of the vessel was not expected because of strong Northerly/Southerly tidal streams. Navigators were briefed about the plan and permission obtained from port authorities. Cargo barges were tied up to vessel and discharging commenced. Vessel behaved exactly as was expected. At flood tides she was kept on Southerly heading and on ebb tides on Northerly heading. Engines movement was given again to bring her back to nominated area as and when she drifted out .As the cargo discharging continued vessel got lighter and impact of tidal streams reduced. Maneuvering of vessel also became much easier with reduced drafts. Vessel successfully discharged her nominated cargo for port. She became the first vessel in history of Gulf of Khambat to discharge her cargo underway.