GROUNDING OF A REEFER VESSEL :
Incident took place in South American port. Pilot had already boarded the vessel and the vessel was under river maneuvering. The vessel was on hand steering. After 30’ of boarding of pilot, the AB reported that the rudder was not responding. It got stuck at 10° port. The vessel was on a narrow part of the river with shallows on either side. the master was on bridge with duty officer. Before the master and duty officer could realize as to what has happened, the vessel got grounded on the port side. the forward part touched the bottom and the stern was in deep water. The vessel floated again in the next high tide and there was no damage to the hull.
On investigation, it was found that the change over lever had shifted to autopilot position may be due to loose connections
Lessons learnt :
all the safety checks to be done prior departure. Support devices can be kept nearby.