STEERING SYSTEM FAILURE
Name: Capt. Manmath Nath Pattnaik
Ship was in drydock and finished the repairs. Before all machinery could be checked, since the cargo was available, (Aframax Tanker), the company directed for loading the cargo. Steering gear was not checked. The vessel loaded the oil, and proceeded to the discharge port in the US east coasat. The weather was very cold in North Atlantic. The steering system was very sluggish, informed the owners and they promised the repairs in one of the on the way ports Gotenberg, Antwerp etc. Same could not be accomplished due to cold climate and non availability of the repairers at that time in those ports. Ship proceeded towards Bahahamas.
Bahamas port authorities insisted on giving 96 hours notice. The ship was stopped just before 96 hours and all the emergencies were tried out. It was found that the port steering system was not responding as required. It was decided to continue with the same condition and on arrival to effect the repairs by informing the owners.
2/E, who was not aware about this, without informing C/E or Master, tried on his own, which resulted in the rudder getting stuck in hard port position. It was critical, and with the guidance from shore authorities, C/E could isolate the port steering section.
The ship arrived at the anchorage of New Orleans port, and the workshop assistance was sought to rectify and repair the steering system.
Improper understanding and communication gap resulted in such accident and unwanted delay.