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An Insight into Collision & Grounding Inspections
03 Feb 2018

An Insight into Collision & Grounding Inspections


Collisions and Groundings – Undesirable yet unavoidable

Errors in navigation, or in some instances, mechanical malfunction, is the primary cause of a ship collision.  A ship collision is not always one ship ramming into another on the high seas; it could also be when a ship collides with a floating or fixed structure, such as an iceberg or a port terminal.

Ship grounding is another type of marine accident where a ship scrapes the seabed when it unknowingly navigates through shallow waters. There are two types of grounding – soft and wallop. In soft grounding, the impact is minimal and the consequent damage is not adverse in nature. In wallop grounding, the impact is considerable, leading to compromising of the ship’s structural integrity.

Both ship collision and grounding are undesirable incidents that could result in loss of human life, severe injury, financial setback and disrepute for the shipping line/ship owners.

Onboard investigations

A certain protocol is observed whenever a collision or grounding incident takes place. Authorised investigators take stock of the situation by collecting data, which will throw light on the cause of the accident.

The officially designated marine surveyor first determines the exact location where the survey is to be conducted. Then he arranges to visit and board the vessel at the earliest. Upon arriving, he checks the ship’s paperwork, interacts with the Master and key Officers involved, downloads the ship’s information (such as Voice Data Recorder), obtains VHF communication, police records, among other data pertaining to the case. He uses this data to write up a detailed report.

Diving for damage assessment

Qualified commercial divers take the plunge to assess the extent of the damage to the ship’s submerged areas after a collision or grounding incident has taken place. They check for overall strength and stability of the ship’s structure, inspect the damage to individual parts and offer independent, unbiased advice regarding salvage operations. In the instance where the collision or grounding becomes sub judice, the experts also need to present evidence in a court of law.

KBA Marine – the experts in Collision and Grounding Inspections

At KBA Marine, Our competent commercial divers have relevant experience of underwater ship inspections involved in collision and grounding incidents. Accredited by the major marine classification societies (ABS, DNV•GL, Lloyds Register, BV), they undertake diving operations for accurate damage assessment and provide expert opinion on salvaging work as well as cost estimation for further repairs/servicing. 

To know more about our inspection services, please contact us.

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