Jamie Hawke – Denray Training Manager

  Jamie Hawke – Denray Training Manager On the 15 August 2014 Jamie Hawke left the Royal New Zealand Navy having served 35 years  for his country. On the 18 August 2014 Jamie started a new journey at DENRAY Marine – He accepted the role of Training Manager. This new position comes with new challenges […]

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MERT Worldwide – Three Step Training

MERT Worldwide – Three Step Training Method Step One – Introduction We will develop a training schedule in consultation with you the client. We may need to visit the ship to better understand your specific training needs. We will develop a training program specific to your needs. Step Two – Training (Coaching – Simulation – […]

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Didn’t follow ‘Best Practice’ processes, Poor Navigation – What do you think?

A poor Safety Culture existed onboard – How do you fix that?

All comments welcome

Costa Concordia and Rena disaster

MERT Worldwide – Maritime emergency Response Training

Over one year ago and the COSTA CONCORDIA salvage is well underway and the ship is now upright.  And the Rena off the coast of New Zealand is now a new reef.

Who will pay to clean up of these two incidents?
What are the lessons learnt?
Where to from here – Courtrooms, re-insurers?
When will those responsible for these disasters be held accountable for their action?
How can we prevent such disasters from happening?

The Costa Concordia has been in the world news recently as there has been progress with the salvage.  But what of the captain of the Costa Concordia – There are so many unanswered questions but still the world waits.  The Rena which split in two has one half sitting on the sea bed.  The other half is still lodged on Astro Reef.  The captain and one other crew member have been charged in a NZ Court.  Again I have to ask the the same questions Who, What, Where, When and How apply.

As I mention in previous MERT post I am certain that much of the cause of both incidents was because of a ‘Poor Safety Culture’ on board.  In both cases it was human error or maybe even neglect (The courts can decide which).  There is however a sure cure for poor safety culture on board and that is by providing quality training that will improve the safety culture on board (health check).
MERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

We can help fix this poor safety culture by providing the best practice ER training.  MERT will send a small dedicated team of ER subject matter experts and professional on board sea safety trainers to conduct a safety culture health check . How is this done? Simply put it is a three step process.

Step One – MERT will provide a program that fits your sea safety training needs. You the client can select from a list of specific training objectives.

Step Two – MERT’s expert team of trainers will arrive on board to commence ER training. This will include, theory, practical, simulation and role play training techniques. The lessons will be set up to include ‘Table Top Exercises   which will verify standard operating procedures (SOP) for high risk compartments.  Theory refresher as required will be provided, targeted at the level of crew member’s knowledge.  Circuit training is an excellent practical training tool which will refresh various ER roles – A good example is wear Breathing Apparatus safely.  Whole ship emergency drills are used to test all the previous training provided by MERT in a realistic whole ship emergency scenario.  This is also assessed and provides the Master/Captain and other interested parties a snap shot of the crews ability to manage an on board emergency.

Step Three – Post training reports which include student and instructor feedback/lessons learnt/critique.  Final report detailed training report highlighting the crew’s strength and weaknesses, material deficiencies and recommendation or remedial action needed.  This report is a ‘health check’ of the safety culture on board.

Given the opportunity, hindsight, premonition call it what you like MERT Worldwide could have prevented both these events if we had been to these ships earlier to conduct ER training for the crew at the same time highlighting the importance of a good safety culture by continued quality on board sea safety training.

MERT Worldwide – Various Video Clip Accidents

MERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

Anchor Chain Breaking


Super Yacht Sinking – Yogi

MERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

“The story of Yogi must be told and it should be used as an example of how badly things can go wrong when training and familiarization fail and self-imposed operational demands combine with otherwise benign, albeit officially sanctioned, design deficiencies. Withholding information related to the loss of Yogi contravenes the very foundation of maritime safety training and regulation. The superyacht industry, and the charter guests who help to fund it, should be asking why they are denied information that is so critical to prevent a recurrence of such an incident, one with far more tragic results.”

Megayacht Yogi Sinking

Why did it take almost an entire year for an investigation to be officially conducted and reported, given that Yogi was essentially a passenger vessel (albeit a very high-end one), presumably serving an elite cadre of charter clients around the world who are presumably as committed to safety on the high seas as any other group of human beings?

MERT Comments

Reading the French report and reading between the lines as well, it appears that many questioned remain unanswered.One thing that is certain is that there is evidence that casts doubt over various crew statements. So what was the actual cause of the sinking. The fault with the main engine was the start of a chain reaction. How did water breech water tight bulkheads? Unless the hull was actually breech (holed) then water must have got in through a watertight door/hatch or other opening.

So many unanswered question, what was the cause of the engine defect? What was the sea state at that time in the area of the sinking.Could crew skills or lack of skills also contributed to the sinking? Could quality training have saved the ship? Was it a design issue? Unless the crew break silence and give a true and accurate account of events there will always be many unanswered question. One thing is certain in this day and age with all the technology and design engineering that goes into modern ships – The shouldn’t sink.


MERT – Costa Concordia

MERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

The trial of Francesco Schettino, charged with manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship in the Costa Concordia tragedy, finally got underway on Tuesday. Four other officers had been charged but were given plea bargains.


The trial got underway in the Tuscan city of Grosseto for one hour before it was adjourned due to a lawyers strike. The strike is a protest of new government regulations meant to accelerate civil trials and is expected to be brief and meant as a show of strength. Schettino’s trial is expected to get back underway on July 17. Schettino, sometimes referred to in Italy as ‘The Chicken of the Sea,’ was the captain of the Concordia on Jan. 13, 2012, when she went too close to the island of Giglio in the Tuscan Sea and slammed into a reef, ripping a hole into her hull and causing her to list over. It is alleged he took the ship in close to ‘salute’ a former colleague living on the island. There are bridge transcripts where he can be heard speaking about saluting his friend but he denies any wrongdoing. Sixty-five percent of the 114,500-tonne vessel carrying 4,229 passengers and crew is now underwater. Schettino was placed under house arrest only days after the tragedy and is widely blamed for the deaths of 32 passengers and crew; two of the bodies, a female passenger from Italy and a male crew member from India, have yet to be recovered. Among the dead was a five-year-old girl. The proceedings are taking place in a theater made into a makeshift courtroom to accommodate the huge crowds expected, most of whom will be relatives of the dead who say they are there to see justice prevail. Outside the courtroom, Schettino’s lawyer, Demenico Pepe, told media he and his client seek only the truth in the matter. “The idea that he abandoned the ship is a wrong interpretation,” Pepe said. “We want the truth to come out of this trial.” The ship remains 300 meters off of the shore of Giglio, a massive hulking thing visible all over the town. It is being prepared to be refloated by the American firm Titan Salvage and the Italian firm, Micoperi. Once raised sometime next spring, the Costa Concordia will be towed to the port of Piombino to be scrapped
Article from from Digital Journal

Stopped From Sailing – The Yacht Is Unsafe

American Sean D'Epagnier and his 8m sailboat Alexandra. Photo / Peter De Graaf

MERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

American Sean D’Epagnier and his 8m sailboat Alexandra. Photo / Peter De Graaf
An American overstayer has been banned from sailing from the Bay of Islands for the Pacific Islands because his yacht is unsafe.
The restrictions on Sean D’Epagnier and his 8.2m Bristol sailboat Alexandra come as questions are asked about whether foreign-flagged vessels should be better checked for seaworthiness before they leave New Zealand.
The Herald on Sunday has learned of concerns in the yachting community about the state of the missing schooner Nina before it left New Zealand.
A source who did not want to be named said the 85-year-old schooner had not been out of the water for three years and was starting to show structural failings, even though it was in immaculate condition above the water.
Maritime NZ said yesterday that the search for Nina had been suspended.
The six Americans and one Briton on board the United States-flagged yacht have made no contact since seven days after leaving the Bay of Islands for Australia on May 29.
Maritime NZ regional compliance manager Deane Ingram confirmed the agency was involved in the Alexandra case.
The authority spoke to owners of foreign-flagged recreational vessels if there were concerns about safety and could put a detention notice on them, he said.
“We do it on behalf of the New Zealand public because … the cost of search and rescue far exceeds the cost of a maritime officer spending a day checking the vessel.”
That had to be balanced with wanting to maintain New Zealand’s popularity as a destination for recreational sailors. “We don’t want to deter them from coming.”
Ingram said they had not been told of any problems with Nina, nor did he know if the missing yacht had had a category one yacht survey, as was required for New Zealand-registered vessels before they left home waters.
Whangarei marina sources rated Nina skipper David Dyche very highly.
The Nina did meet at least one requirement of the survey – it was carrying a manually-activated emergency locator beacon.
The beacon had not been activated, he said.
“If it had we’d know where they were within 10 to 15 minutes.”
An Immigration NZ spokeswoman said the department was working with D’Epagnier and had agreed he could live on his sailboat in a Bay of Islands boatyard while a seaworthiness inspection took place. His visitor visa expired in February.
D’Epagnier was working on his dry-docked yacht in Opua yesterday, but declined to comment.
He has told friends he wants to leave New Zealand but has been told he must check metal around his rudder is not corroded and install a new light on his mast.
The move has outraged one of his friends, off-shore cruising sailor advocate David Howie, who believes Maritime NZ is making a political example of D’Epagnier.
“I think they’ve pulled this out of the drawer,” he said. “I know there are some people at Maritime NZ who want to use this.”
Classic Yacht Association of New Zealand committee member Ian Gavin said he was undecided about whether the seaworthiness rule should be extended to foreign-registered boats.
“It’s a hard one because we have such a large piece of ocean that we are responsible for. But we’ve also got to make sure we’re not becoming too much of a nanny state and going overboard with the rules.”

Seagoing sagas
January 2011: Malcolm Waddilove went missing after leaving Opua for Australia. Northland coroner Brandt Shortland found the British sailor probably drowned after setting sail on a yacht that was “not seaworthy”.
May 2013: The historic schooner Nina leaves Opua with seven people on board. After the crew stops communicating by radio and satellite phone, an extensive air, sea and coastal search is launched. Maritime NZ suspended the search yesterday, with no sign of the Nina or its crew.
July 2013: Maritime NZ bans American overstayer Sean D’Epagnier from sailing out of the Bay of Islands, because his yacht is deemed unsafe.
– Herald on Sunday

Search For The Nina – Classic Sailing Yacht

Nina under sail.

MERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

The search for the classic racing yacht Nina has been formally suspended after 12 days of searching.
The seven-strong crew of the 84-year-old wooden vessel, which was travelling to Australia from the Bay of Islands, was last in touch over a month ago when the ship encountered a storm.
Over the last 11 days, there have been nine extensive searches over an area more than eight times the size of New Zealand.
An Air Force P3 Orion search plane sent out to look for signs of the yacht has made no sightings of the vessel, its liferaft or debris.
Shoreline searches by fixed wing aircraft and helicopters also failed to find the vessel.
The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) operations manager John Seward said the search effort had comprehensively covered all areas where the vessel or its crew could reasonably have been expected to be found.
“The search has been extremely thorough and we are confident that had the yacht or liferaft been within those search areas, we would have found them.
“For this reason, after carefully reviewing all of the information gathered over the last month, and in the absence of any further developments, the director of Maritime New Zealand has accepted the recommendation to formally suspend the search.”
The decision was not made lightly, and the rescue centre was disappointed Nina’s crew had not been found, Mr Seward said.
“However, we have had to conclude there is nothing more we can do at this stage.”
He said the suspension meant the search would be stood down unless any new information came to light.
Transtasman maritime radio broadcasts were continuing.
“It is possible the search could be reactivated, if any significant new information comes to light.”
Mr Seward thanked the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Phillips Search and Rescue Trust for the many hours they had spent searching for the yacht.
The RCCNZ obtained a text message this week that was sent from 18-year-old American crew member Daniella Wright which she sent via the boat’s satellite phone on June 4.
The message revealed the Nina was affected by the storm, but the RCCNZ said it gave no indication of immediate distress.
The vessel, owned by American David Dyche, 58, was heading from Opua for Newcastle, Australia.
Mr Dyche was travelling with his 60-year-old wife, Rosemary, their son David, 17, and well-known maritime technology expert Evi Nemeth, 73.
British man Matthew Wootton, 35, and American Kyle Bruce Jackson were also travelling with the family.

The wreck of the RENA Salvage

MERT WorldwideMERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

One of history’s most expensive ship salvage jobs is set to get even costlier, with a major new underwater project to be put on the MV Rena’s running tab of $300 million.

Neither the owners nor the salvors contracted to chop away the structure could reveal estimates of the operation, which adds to what was this year listed as the third most expensive salvage in the world.

The latest project will kick off in October, two years after the ship struck the reef and spilled 350 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the ocean.

It comes after concerns had been raised that the block, which housed the ship’s bridge, crew quarters, offices and galley, could collapse and send more debris towards the shore.

Captain John Owen, of insurers The Swedish Club, said he understood that people did not want the uncertainty of not knowing when such an event might happen.

“Although there is a considerable cost to removing the accommodation section, we recognise the importance of minimising the effects on the community of the Rena grounding as much as we can.”

While yet to lodge a resource consent application, the Rena’s owners have sounded their preference for leaving part of the wreck on the reef after properly containing the site.

Their initial approach had been to leave the accommodation block after making it safe to use as a diving attraction but changed their minds in light of wave action and currents potentially battering it into a hazard. Removing the block is scheduled to take 80 days. Half of that time allows for bad weather and sea conditions, and will begin once a special crane barge arrives from Singapore.

US salvors Resolve Salvage and Fire will cut away sections and lift them on to a barge to transport to the Port of Tauranga and scrapped.

A team of smaller craft at the site will prevent debris reaching the shore. Minimal damage would occur to the reef.

Salvors are meanwhile whittling down the Rena’s bow to 1m below the lowest tide mark, removing container wreckage from damaged holds and clearing hundreds of tonnes of debris from the sea floor.

The entire operation – a logistical nightmare which has involved a race to pump Marmite-like oil from fuel holds and cranes plucking away containers stacked in high leaning towers – has now reached the point where nothing of the Rena is visible from above the water.

Assessments of the wreck’s environmental, social and cultural impacts are due to be complete by the end of the year, and until then the owners say any decision to lodge a consent application won’t be made.

Several iwi groups have gone to the Waitangi Tribunal in a push for the wreck to be completely removed and appeals have been lodged with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council over a temporary suspension of the reef’s recognised environmental status.

Long, slow haul

US salvors Resolve Salvage and Fire will remove the accommodation block in two sections by cutting it away from the deck. Each section will be taken by barge to the Port of Tauranga and dismantled for scrap and recycling.

For a video of the next stage click here



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