(Capt Naveen N)

Discussion was held between Chief officer and Master in regard to anchoring of VLCC in deep water. Master preferred to walk back the anchor about 3 to 5 mtrs and then let go the anchor. Chief officer’s opinion was to walk back the anchor, all the way. Merits and demerits of both methods were discussed.

Vessel was on a voyage from Singapore to Persian Gulf. Instructions were that the vessel had to drop anchor off Fujairah. Depth was around 95mtrs to 115 mtrs. Chief officer started walking back the anchor at the forward stations. When it was 3 on the deck, Chief officer informed bridge and the Master advised him to disengage the gear and let go on brakes. Chief officer wanted to clarify but the order was to do as told. He conveyed the message to Bosun and briefed him and the cadet as to what to do. As soon as the let go order was given, the anchor released with great momentum.

Within a few seconds, the entire windlass was covered with rust, the chief officer ordered Bosun and Cadet to leave the area. Bosun continued to apply the brake, but chief Officer pulled him clear off the area. The anchor broke at the bitter end and fell overboard with a great whip lash on the f’castle deck, ripping it a ½ mtr and denting the hawse pipe in several places.

Suggestions :

when ever the depth is more than 25 mtrs, it is preferable to walk back the anchor.