Human Error in Ship Collision between ferry and motor yacht in Washington

By Accidents
Human error caused the accident between the motor yacht Tasya and the Washington State Ferries (WSDOT) ship Hyak on 13th of September, 2013, revealed the investigation report. The starboard's bow of the Washington ferry ship Hyak collided with the  port quarter of the motor yacht vessel. The collision between both vessel occurred at the confluence of Harney and Upright channels in the San Juan Islands.

The only passenger of the motor yacht ship Tasya was safely rescued by a vessel, which was passing nearby at the time of the collision and transported the distressed vessel's occupant to Orcas Island. The Washington State Ferries convened a team of investigators to observe the caused of the collision between the Tasya yacht and the ferry ship Hyak. The board of investigators gathered a wide collection of information regarding the collision and spent over 30 hours meeting to find out any evidence, which can be useful to determine the cause of the accident.

The collision between the motor yacht Tasya nd the ferry Hyak was avoidable, according to the investigation report. The Hyak ship had enough time to undertake adequate reaction, "sea room" and equipment capability to avoid the accident. Furthermore, the report determined that the weather condition, tides, visibility and currents weren't factors for the collision between Tasya and Hyak ships.

“We conducted a thorough and detailed investigation into what happened and why,” said David Moseley, WSDOT assistant secretary, ferries division. “We’re now shifting our focus to making improvements to prevent future incidents.”

There are 6 recommendations provided by the report for system-wide improvements, which can prevent collisions similar to this:

  1. All employees who act as a part of a navigational watch must attend the WSF Bridge Team Management training program.
  2. A refresher training program should be developed for officers in charge of a navigational watch.
  3. The roles, responsibilities and duties of the newly assigned second mates on Super Class vessels should be formally incorporated into policies and procedures.
  4. The relative roles and responsibilities should be defined for crewmembers in the performance of the “V” maneuver.
  5. Voyage Data Recorders should be considered on all WSF vessels.
  6. The qualification process should be reviewed for quartermaster/helmsman duties.

Based on the recommendations of the envestigative panes, the Washingto State Ferries is taking the recommended steps. The report of the collision between Hyak and Tasya ships was referred to the Operation's Director as well as HR for further consideration and review.