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ATCM 11,
CEP 7a

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Establishing IAATO Safety Advisories

Establishing IAATO Safety Advisories

Information Paper submitted by IAATO
This Information Paper describes IAATO’s establishment of a formalised internal Safety Advisory system. The Advisories are intended to enhance safety for operators in Antarctic, thus ensuring that there is a readily accessible, searchable bank of ‘local knowledge’ information on both general matters and site-specific advice.

When IAATO operators are involved in incidents, an IAATO process is followed to ensure that those incidents are reviewed and, where appropriate, lessons are learned industry wide. Examples of the results of this process have been presented to previous ATCMs (for example, see ATCM XXXI/IP81, ATCM ATCM XXXIII/IP61 and XXXIV/IP104). In many respects these lessons learned incorporate local knowledge of a site, or risks, and effective mitigation measures which are based on experience, knowledge of the site and understanding of those risks.

Establishing A Safety Advisory System
The grounding of the MV Sea Spirit in Whalers Bay on December 9, 2011 prompted a review of the incident. However, it also prompted a review of how these lessons learned are subsequently promulgated. The MV Sea Spirit grounded in the soft ash bottom of Whalers Bay in a similar position to the MV Clipper Adventurer in 2002 and MV Lyubov Orlova in 2006. MV Sea Spirit floated free of her own accord in the subsequent high water with no threat to human life and no reported damage to the environment. As with the previous groundings at this site, a subsequent underwater inspection showed no damage to the vessel.
Given that this was the third such grounding in the area from IAATO vessels, it was perceived that while some had learned lessons from the previous experiences, the information was not being transmitted effectively to prevent a recurrence of such an event.
During subsequent discussions by the IAATO Marine Committee, it was decided that this form of ‘local knowledge’ would be better disseminated by having a dedicated set of internal IAATO Safety Advisories that will be distributed both in the IAATO Field Operations Manual and also separately to operators for distribution to other relevant personnel, for example, those responsible for vessel management and to Bridge management teams. The intention is to build an easily searchable set of these advisories that are both general and site specific in nature.
The first such dedicated advisory, for Whalers Bay, Deception Island is appended to this paper. Previous recommendations to enhance safety (for example see ATCM XXXIII/IP61 and ATCM XXXI/IP81) will be converted into this format and re-distributed via the IAATO Field Operations Manual.

IAATO Safety Advisory 01/2012

Deception Island - Whalers Bay Anchorage

Following the groundings of MV Sea Spirit, December 2011, MV Clipper Adventurer, November 2002 and MV Lyubov Orlova, 2006 during anchoring manoeuvres at Whalers Bay, Deception Island, the IAATO Marine Committee offers the following safety advisory:

  1. Anchoring at Whalers Bay is not advisable due to poor holding ground.

  2. Charted depths are not reliable; in particular the shallower area on the northern section of the bay is believed to extend further south than currently indicated.

  3. The very low profile of the shoreline can result in misleading radar readings, indicating that the shoreline is further away than reality. This is especially the case if the radar has been adjusted to avoid sea clutter.

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