Marine MO-2008-206

Passenger ferry Monte Stello, collisions with wharves, Picton and Wellington, 8 and 9 August 2008
Status: Closed
Legacy Inquiry Number: 
Occurrence Date: 
8 August 2008
Report Publication Date: 
8 September 2010
Jurisdiction: NZ
On 8 and 9 August 2008, the roll-on/roll-off passenger and freight ferry Monte Stello was involved in 2 berthing occurrences: the first a collision with the floating pontoon at its berth in Picton, and the second a collision with the end of Glasgow Wharf where it was to berth in Wellington.
The Picton occurrence resulted in damage to the steelwork securing the pontoon to the link-span and minor damage to the ship. The Wellington occurrence resulted in substantial damage to the wharf and the ship's hull being penetrated at the stern, resulting in about 8 days out of service while repairs were made.
The Picton accident was mainly the result of a ship handling error when the officer conducting the berthing was under training. The Wellington occurrence was caused by a combination of the effect the wind was having on the ship as it backed towards its berth and the ship’s progress not being adequately monitored. The speed of the propeller pitch response did not meet the handling master’s expectations for aborting the approach. It could not be established if the reported delays in the propeller pitch response were due to an undetermined one-off fault in the manoeuvring system, or if the delays were symptomatic of what had become accepted peculiarities in the way the controllable pitch propeller system performed.
Safety issues identified included the unsatisfactory condition of the control systems for the controllable pitch propellers, and flaws in the planned maintenance system designed to ensure such critical systems were maintained in good order.
Although not causal to either occurrence, the Rules governing the requirement to fit voyage data recorders on Cook Strait passenger and freight ferries were examined.
Recommendations were made to the Director of Maritime New Zealand to address the safety issues identified, including the issue of voyage data recorders.
(Note: this executive summary condenses content to highlight key points to readers and does so in simpler English and with less technical precision than the remainder of the report to ensure its accessibility to a non-expert reader. Expert readers should refer to and rely on the body of the full report.)
Related Safety Recommendation(s):
Glasgow Wharf, Wellington (-41.2840,174.0050) [may be approximate]