Analysis of Maersk Neptune Collision Case Paper Example

Paper Type:  Case study
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1890 Words
Date:  2022-08-15


The Maersk Neptune collusion case occurred in 1988 when the 811 feet long ship Maersk Neptune collided with the 601 feet long carrier known as the Mont Fort, which was anchored at the Upper section of the New York Bay (Admiral 1988). At the time of the accident Mont, fort carrier was anchored in the federal anchorage area 23b that is located north of Verrazano narrow bridge near the Staten Island (Admiral 1988). The Maersk Neptune tanker was sailing from the sea heading towards the federal anchorage area, under the control of the New Jersey hook pilot. On the day the collusion between the two ships happened, the visibility during the day was considered to be generally below a quarter mile, and at various occasions, it was at approximately 300 yards, this was due to the increased amount of fog in the sea area.

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In accordance with the docking procedures, Maersk Neptune pilot gradually minimized the vessels speed as it approached the sea bridge and then continually minimized the speed of the vessel as it approached the federal anchorage area. Unfortunately, by the time Maersk Neptune pilot noticed that the Mont fort carrier had docked at the federal anchorage area earlier, it was too late. This was due to the reduced sea visibility due to the increased amount of fog that contributed to the vessel pilot not noticing the presence of the Mont fort carrier until he was too close to it. However immediately after Maersk Neptune pilot noticed that there was a ship in the Anchorage area, he quickly stopped the tankers direct drive engines with the intention of stopping the ship to avoiding collision with Mont fort carrier(Admiral 1988). The Neptune pilot then engaged other protocols such as putting the tanker on full astern together with the emergency astern but unfortunately, before the pilot removed the tankers all head away from the Maersk Neptune ship collided with the Mont fort carrier that was anchored at the port. Maersk Neptune pilot could have avoided the collision by either changing the anchoring position or by not entering the anchoring section; however, it was too late considering that he had no information concerning the anchoring of Mont fort carrier and the visibility was low.

Factors that contributed to the occurrence of the accident

Despite both the Maersk Neptune and the Mont fort being part of the vessel traffic system, which was operational at the time of the crash, they did not engage in any communication or participation to update each other on their location status... According to the officer in charge of the vessel traffic system, all ships that were under the control of the bridge-to-bridge telephone radio act are eligible to participate in the vessel traffic system to update each other on their location status at a particular point. However, the ships participating in the vessel traffic system was considered voluntary; therefore, both the Maersk Neptune and Mont fort ship did not put much emphasis in engaging in communication since it was optional. This can be considered as an error since the accident could have been avoided if the ships participating in the vessel traffic system had been made mandatory. Therefore the Mont fort ship could have updated the Neptune tanker on it location thus eliminating the chances of the accident occurring. The vessels participating in the traffic system were responsible for providing information concerning their eligible draft, length, destination and speed and other various navigation aspects of the ships while in the sea(Admiral 1988). This information may have helped to locate the actual position of the vessel while in the sea and the direction the ship is heading to thus making it possible to warn the other ships in case of any possibility of a collision. Considering that all the vessel's radio communications concerning their sea movements were all delivered through a specific channel, which in this case is channel 14. and both vessels, that is Maersk Neptune, and Mont fort was participating in the vessel traffic system. it would have been easier to get updates on the information concerning the vessels location, thus minimizing the probability of the accident occurring. Participation in the traffic system should, therefore, be made compulsory to ensure that the vessels pilots have the current information concerning the other vessels in the sea thus eliminating the possibility of occurrence of an accident.

Considering that both vessels, the Mont Fort and Maersk were participating in the New York vessel traffic system while in their respective sections, for example, Maersk participated in the traffic system while in the sea movement section and the mount fort participated while in the docking monitoring sections. This would have enabled them to obtain the anchorage procedures to eliminate the possibility of the accident occurring. However the new york vessel traffic system procedures that were operating at the time of the accident happened did not give correct method in which the docking information was updated as the Maersk vessel was moving towards the anchoring area. This lead to the collision occurring since the Neptune tanker was not warned on time that there was another vessel anchoring in the Staten Island anchorages(Admiral 1988). If the New York vessel traffic system had been updated on time, the collision would have been avoided since Maersk Neptune would have been updated on the anchorage status while still in the movement section. Therefore, this can be considered as a human error since the watchstanders did not take that appropriate steps to update the system to ensure that all the vessels were up to date on the current system information while still in their respective sections.

On the other hand, the New York vessel traffic system did not make use of the various changes that they had to communicate with the Maersk Neptune pilot to update him on the additional information such as the presence of another ship in the anchoring section. For example, when the ship was in the movement section and when it was entering the anchoring section. Early communication would have ensured that the Neptune's vessel followed the right anchoring procedures to avoid the collision.

Now when the Maersk Neptune pilot left the pilot boat, he was feed with the anchorage data that he had obtained from vessel traffic system earlier on before he left. However, the information that he had obtained expired at the moment Mont fort anchored and relayed the information to the vessel traffic system. In this case, considering that the pilot was assigned to the Maersk vessel, he could have personally obtained the updated information concerning the Montfort ship since it was available in the vessel traffic system instead of depending on the New York traffic system to relay the message to him. Through the pilot obtaining the information, he would have been informed on the current developments that had taken place, therefore enabling him to initiate the appropriate precautions. Such as changing the anchoring position or not entering the anchoring area. Even though the information concerning the anchorage of the Mont fort vessel had not been delivered to the Maersk Neptune pilot after it was available in the vessel traffic system, The Maersk pilot should have been made aware of the current changes in the anchoring area once he reported to the traffic system that he was entering the docking area(Admiral 1988). Those in charge of the New York traffic system, however, assumed that the Maersk pilot was aware that the Montfort carrier had anchored earlier which not the case was thus leading to the occurrence of the accident. This shows the watchstanders negligence for not responding appropriately and following up on if the information had been delivered to the Neptune's pilot earlier. Therefore, one can also conclude that the accident was due to the watchstanders negligence.

Also Despite the vessel traffic system information being restricted to one channel which in this case is channel 12 to limit congestion of the ships movement radio channel the new york vessel traffic system watchstanders should have identified another method of delivering the anchorage information to the Maersk Neptune vessels pilot in a more effective way. For example, rather than using channel 12 to broadcast the information they word have decided to use another convenient method such as specific signals that are visible at a distance warning other vessels of any dangers. The use of such updated procedures of relaying the information may have helped in warning the vessels pilot to enter the anchoring area carefully to avoid the collision. It was the initiative of the New York traffic system, to ensure that other convenient strategies are put in place to ensure effectiveness in relaying information to the vessels pilots, at any particular moment rather than depending on the old method that was not convenient enough.

The developments from the collusion case

After the accident occurred and the New York vessel traffic system was decommissioned after it continuous poor performance in performing its duties. The procedure of obtaining the anchoring information changed tremendously. The vessel pilot now has to get the recent anchoring information from the anchoring officers in charge or through obtaining the information from other vessels available to eliminate the possibility of accidents. This method also helped to eliminate the possibility of negligence when performing the duties as it was the case when the New York vessel traffic system was operational. The kind of negligence that was eliminated involve, withholding the information for some time before it is dispatched to other vessels in the movement section and assuming that the incoming vessels are updated with the current information concerning the anchoring section therefore thus not taking the appropriate actions to confirm. The vessels pilots now have to obtain the current updates on the vessels anchorage from the respective coasts gourd facilities that are in charge of monitoring the anchorages. The vessels pilots tend to get the updated information as they approached the docking area, this acted as an effective method in marine accidents reduction. Getting the information when approaching the anchoring area is also convenient particularly during the days when the visibility is reduced.

Also, the vessel traffic system considered an improvement on the methods of spreading or sharing the anchoring information with the various sea vessels as an effective way of avoiding accidents. This led to the introduction of the method of recording the anchoring information on tape which then automatically share the information at various intervals. This will ensure that every vessel in the sea continually receives the information in various instances. Also during the days when the visibility is low. The recorded messages could also be composed of the nature of visibility at various sections in the harbor.


The occurrence of the collusion case between the Maersk Neptune and the Mont fort carrier can be considered to have occurred due to various factors that include, first, negligence of the watchstanders in sharing of the information with the various vessels. This was either through withholding information for some time or assuming that the other vessels are aware of the current anchoring information. Secondly, not imposing strict regulation concerning mandatory participation in the vessel traffic system to ensure that information is being shared between vessels. Thirdly, the delayed update on the vessel traffic system, this occurred due to various parties withholding information for some time before they can deliver and update it in the system. Fourt...

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Analysis of Maersk Neptune Collision Case Paper Example. (2022, Aug 15). Retrieved from

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