Yu Shan No.168 Fishing Boat Major Marine Occurrence
On November 12, 2022, at about 1450 local time (UTC0650), a Republic of China (R.O.C.) flag fishing vessel, YU SHAN NO.168, CT3-5988, collided with a Panama flag general cargo vessel, BUNGO PRINCESS, IMO NO. 9496654, at 1 nautical mile northwest of Keelung islet, Keelung City. After the collision, YU SHAN NO.168 sank, and there were no casualties.
At 1505LT on November 12th, 2022, a ROC registered longline fishing vessel Yu San No.168. Gross tonnage of 49.25 and CT number: CT3-5988, collided with the Panama registered general cargo vessel Bungo Princess. IMO number is 9496654, gross tonnage 6736, around the northern boundary of the outbound channel of Keelung Port. The Yu San No.168 fishing vessel suffered hull damage and began taking on water, ultimately leading to its sinking. The M/V Bungo Princess sustained multiple scratches on her port bow. The 7 crew members of the Yu San No.168 were successfully rescued by the Taiwan Coast Guard. Fortunately, No casualties or pollution resulted from this accident.
- While the fishing vessel Yu San No.168 was heading to the area near Soudao Cape, there was restricted visibility at the time. The fishing vessel Yu San No.168 did not take appropriate evasive action in accordance with the relevant provisions of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) regarding lookout and safe speed. The fishing vessel Yu San No.168 did not make effective use of radar for assistance in lookout. It did not detect the approaching general cargo vessel Bungo Princess to its starboard bow.
- After departing from the Keelung Port, the general cargo vessel Bungo Princess did not comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) regarding safe speed. It proceeded at full speed upon entering areas with restricted visibility and heavy traffic. when the general cargo vessel Bungo Princess observed that the fishing vessel Yu San No.168 was not taking the necessary evasive actions as required by regulations and continued to approach, it initiated a starboard turn by setting its course. Nevertheless, the rate of turn was relatively slow, and it did not avoid the collision between the two vessels in a timely manner.
- The Keelung Port Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), in handling port closure due to dense fog, had two operators who failed to effectively allocate their duties for continuous monitoring of vessel traffic dynamics within the channel. As a result, both operators on duty prior to the accident failed to detect the collision risk between the general cargo vessel Bungo Princess and the fishing vessel Yu San No.168.
- The collision warning feature of the Vessel Traffic Service system was not activated, leading to the system's failure to provide advance warning and alert the operators at the Keelung Port VTS to the impending collision risk between the general cargo vessel Bungo Princess and the fishing vessel Yu San No.168."
- In Taiwan, there are currently no specific legal provisions the hierarchy of vessel traffic services (VTS), The VTS service areas have not been officially announced, and VTS operations are only conducted based on individual port VTS guidelines. This has resulted in the inability to effectively utilize the vessel traffic monitoring and warning functions recommended by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
- After the collision accident, the general cargo vessel Bungo Princess made multiple English-language reports to the Keelung Port Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). However, the VTS operators were unable to fully comprehend the messages from Bungo Princess until 40 minutes later when an off-duty operator returned to assist, enabling effective communication.
- In accordance with International Maritime Organization the guidelines for vessel traffic services (VTS), there are currently no regulations in our country regarding the training course, holding appropriate certification, and employment of VTS personnel. Additionally, TIPC has not established competency standards for operators.
- Reviewing the current Commercial Port Act and the existing scope of the Keelung Port's commercial port area, it is noted that the commercial port area of Keelung Port does not contain the channels and anchorage areas outside the harbor. Consequently, the Keelung Port Vessel Traffic (VTS) Service does not possess the functionalities required in accordance with the International Maritime Organization VTS guidelines.
- Since the establishment of the TTSB before the occurrence of this accident, it has dealt with 9 cases of fishing vessel sinking. In all of these cases, there were no emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) signals received from the fishing vessels. This absence severely impacted subsequent search and rescue efforts and further diminished the chances of survival for the crew members After this accident occurred, our country's search and rescue authorities did not receive any distress signals from the fishing vessel Yu San No.168's EPIRB.