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Vessels running aground or colliding with fixed or floating objects (FFO) are among the most high profile and costly of all maritime accidents. The cost in both personal and financial terms has increased in recent years, but human error remains the most common factor. A vessel's navigational systems and procedures for voyage planning, bridge team management and watchkeeping are designed to reduce the risk of groundings and FFO incidents. All are interdependent, and it is when these systems and procedures start to break down that incidents occur. Everyone who is part of the bridge team is responsible for ensuring that the systems are properly used and implemented.
This guide is designed to bring to the attention of masters and officers the key factors which, based on North's many years of extensive experience in dealing with such incidents, are the key contributory factors in groundings and FFO incidents. It includes suggestions on avoiding the contributory factors and aims to promote an understanding of how the risks can be minimised through following good practice. Real-life case studies are included at the end of most chapters to provide examples of poor practice. The case studies and the questions they ask are designed to be the starting point for wide-ranging discussions on all aspects of avoiding groundings and FFO incidents.