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A ship leaving the quay switched to autopilot, according to normal procedure. The ”Hydraulic Lock Alarm” sounded several times on the port steering engine without affecting steering operations, but during a starboard turn the machine suddenly steered hard to starboard. The ship started an uncontrollable starboard turn, leading to a grounding that damaged the hull and led to repairs in the shipyard. The shipping company’s investigation showed that the entire steering system was divided into three separate systems (from two different manufacturers) which were intended to interact: the auto pilot, an electronic control system and the hydraulic steering engines. The electronic system that controlled the steering machine had damaged circuit boards and relays, probably due to the vibrations and environment on board. This damage led to short circuits, which in turn gave the wrong signals to the steering engine. The shipping company had the steering system rebuilt and removed the electronic system, so that the autopilot controls the steering engine directly. A detailed report was sent out to the rest of the fleet with all the procedures for maintenance and exercises for handling the automatic, manual and emergency steering systems.

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