An older and experienced tanker skipper was on duty on a ship that was new to him. Having shadowed with the skipper that was signing off, he took over command and continued the journey to make a stop for bunkering at Göteborg roadstead.
When the ship was approaching the anchoring point just before the VTS limit, manual control was selected and the skipper decided to test the rudder. He ordered the helmsman to carry out a series of manoeuvres and the ship swung backwards and forwards for a good while.
Finally the journey continued for the last leg towards the anchoring point, but the ship had drifted sideways during the manoeuvres and sailed directly onto a bank.
The investigation by the Marine Department indicates that the most probable explanation is that the skipper mistook the rudder angle indicator for the yaw indicator. Both instruments look very similar and indicate values on a display unit. The investigation also showed that there was a very poor working climate on the bridge, with an extremely dominant skipper and a subjugated crew.
SFu ref 060503-TSS2009-3752