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LIBERIAN CASUALTY REPORT: DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF MARITIME AFFAIRS, R.L. AND REPORT OF THE MARINE BOARD OF INVESTIGATION IN THE MATTER OF THE COLLISION BETWEEN S/T VENOIL (O.N.4414) AND S/T VENPET (O.N. 4489) OFF THE COAST OF SOUTH AFRICA ON 16 DECEMBER 1977
On the mid-morning of 16 December 1977, in dense fog, two sister ships, the Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) VENOIL and VENPET, both over 325,000 DWT, collided about 25 miles off the coast of South Africa in the approximate position 34 deg 28 min South, 24 deg 05 min East. Both ships were burning after the collision, and the sea around both ships was ablaze. About 26,000 tons of oil spilled from VENOIL. Although much of the oil was consumed by fire, some oil did reach the South African Coast. As noted in the conclusions of the Marine Board, the primary cause of the collision was that those responsible for the navigation of each ship failed to use their radar properly. The deck watch officers of both VLCCs had accepted a closest point of approach of one mile in this passing situation in reduced visibility. Both deck watch officers did not compensate for the potential error in radar range and bearing observations when there is no radar plotting or some equivalent systematic observation of detected objects which present a risk of collision. Visibility at the time of collision was restricted to less than 1200 feet.
Bureau of Maritime Affairs Monrovia
Old TRIS Terms:
Marine Transportation; Safety and Human Factors
Maritime Technical Information Facility
Jul 21 1994 12:00AM