Posted on January 10, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The investigation into the collision that occurred last October off the coast of Corsica, involving the RoRo Ulysse and the CSL Virginia, has officially concluded.
The findings of the Cypriot, French and Tunisian investigators assigned to the case were released on Monday. The investigation revealed a number of human errors as the leading cause of the accident.
Namely, the watch officer on board the Tunisian RoRo Ulysse, was left alone on the bridge of the vessel. To make matters worse, the officer was on his phone answering a call and was not near the radar station at the time of the collision.
Furthermore, the officers on board the Cypriot containership, CSL Virginia, did not attend to the radar alarms.
A question was raised on behalf of the investigators as to why the CSL Virginia had dropped anchor in the middle of a shipping lane.
“The captain of the Tunisian boat was busy… making private telephone calls. He was far from the radar screen that warns of danger. He was alone,” said Youssef Ben Romdhane, director general of sea transport for Tunisia’s commerce ministry in a statement.
“According to testimony… this is the first time a ship had dropped anchor in this location… (on) a sea lane used by merchant ships,” he added.
Reportedly, investigators claim that the anchoring of the CSL Virginia in a busy shipping lane was the result of pressure from the shipowner.
The RoRo had originally left the port of Genoa, Italy, and was bound for Tunisia when it collided with the CSL Virginia in the morning of October the 7th. The container ship was anchored approximately 17 miles off the island of Corsica, in the middle of a known shipping lane at the time of the accident.
As a result of the collision, the bow of the Ulysse penetrated the hull of CSL Virginia, resulting in heavy damages and the release of some 500 cubic meters of heavy fuel oil.
It took local authorities a total of five days to be able to dislodge the two ships.
Damage to the two vessels plus associated clean-up costs were estimated at a combined total of 23.5 million euros.