A shipping notice has been released by the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands, outlining the investigation of an incident which led to the death of a third officer on board the Fincantieri 140m superyacht, Ocean Victory.
The report explained that a third officer and deckhand were assigned to the superyacht’s forward mooring station to anchor the vessel, on command of the captain. Communication was established between the mooring station and bridge by radio, and in addition, the captain could observe activity in the mooring station via the vessel’s CCTV.
The report detailed that the windlass brake was applied and clutch disengaged in preparation for “letting go” the anchor. As the anchor was dropped, the third officer was controlling the paying out of the chain with the windlass brake, while the deck hand monitored the orientation of the chain in the water.
Four shackles were in the water when the chain was stopped. The captain requested a total of five shackles in the water, and so the third officer continued paying out the anchor chain. The report states that at this point, the windlass brake “failed catastrophically”, and the chain began to run out in an uncontrolled manner.
When all nine shackles had run out, the bitter end failed and the loose end of the chain left the chain locker and struck the third officer. The third officer as a result suffered “extremely severe injuries” from the force of being struck by the loose anchor chain. Tragically, despite “prompt and comprehensive medical treatment being administered by the on board emergency response team”, the third officer died of his injuries.
The report then states that the cause(s) of the failure of the windlass brake is still under investigation, and at this stage it is “not possible to draw any definitive conclusions.”