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Collision between crew transfer vessel and wind turbine generator

  • What happened?

    A crew transfer vessel (CTV) collided head-on with a wind turbine generator (WTG) at a speed of approximately seventeen knots.

    The CTV was sailing towards the WTG on autopilot to do a push-on test. The autopilot did not change course towards the east of the WTG as the vessel master intended. At the time the vessel master noticed they were sailing straight at the WTG, and it was too late to take corrective action.

    At the time of the collision, only the vessel master and the deck hand were aboard the CTV, while the WTG was unmanned.

    During impact, the vessel master hit the bridge’s dashboard and the deck hand hit the table in the passenger area. No serious injuries occurred to the personnel onboard.

    The CTV sustained severe damage to the hull and the transfer platform. It was demobilised and sent to a drydock for repairs.

    The WTG showed signs of a collision but no visible deformation. Its structural integrity remained intact as the vessel absorbed most of the impact. Technical assessments confirmed the WTG's regular operations were unaffected and no issues were found.

    What happened - icon
  • Why did it happen?

    Autopilot/human error:

    • The initial course was initially set directly towards the WTG, and the autopilot was engaged.
    • The vessel master expected that the CTV’s course would change towards the east ±300m before reaching the WTG, assuming that the autopilot had been adjusted accordingly.
    • The autopilot was not ergonomically positioned. It is located to the right and above the head of the vessel master. Therefore, it is difficult for the vessel master to see what input has been given to the autopilot.
    • CTV owner found no evidence that the autopilot malfunctioned.

    Routine Operations:

    • The vessel master was multitasking (checking the weather on their laptop) while relying on  the autopilot.
    • Only one crew member was at the bridge while sailing 17 knots within the windfarm.
    Why did it happen - icon
  • What did they learn?

    Discourage the use of autopilot within the windfarm where appropriate.

    Establish a speed limit for the windfarm when there are fewer than two crew members on the bridge to ensure proper lookout.

    Incorporate a "collision scenario between vessel and WTG" into emergency response plans.

    What learn - icon
  • Ask yourself or your crew

    Could a similar incident occur within our operations? Are there any similarities in terms of vessel navigation, autopilot usage, or crew?

    What controls and protocols do we have in place regarding the use of vessel autopilot? How do we ensure the safe operation and monitoring of autopilot systems?

    How prepared are we for an emergency response scenario involving a collision between a vessel and a WTG?

    Ask your crew - icon
Published on 24/05/23 1628 Views

A crew transfer vessel (CTV) collided head-on with a wind turbine generator (WTG) at a speed of approximately seventeen knots. The CTV was sailing towards the WTG on autopilot to do a push-on test. The autopilot did not change course towards the east of the WTG as the vessel master intended. At the time the vessel master noticed they were sailing straight at the WTG, and it was too late to take corrective action.