Inside Out, a BBC investigative programme said that the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) also found a crew member had fallen asleep while on watch.
The 1,800-dead weight Danio (built 2001) got stuck on rocks in the Farne Islands on March 16, 2013, with a cargo of timber.
It took two weeks for the vessel to be refloated.
Inside Out found the crew also “forgot” to use the alarm system.
MCA Surveyor Alan Thomson told the programme Danio had a “very basic” bridge navigational watch alarm system fitted.
But this was switched off.
“From the evidence that we looked at from the procedures on board, it showed a serious failing of the safety management system,” he added.
“The ship was using an unapproved electronic chart plotter, which is a bit like your GPS for the car.
“The Danio, from the time he sailed from Perth to the time he went aground, had two positions on his chart … he was relying solely on his GPS.
“They basically said ‘we’ll draw a line and we’ll go the quickest way possible’ without really thinking about ‘do I need to go that close to the Farne Islands?'”
Shipowner Frank Dahl blamed the crew, adding it was company policy to use the alarm system: “It is only the human who did not follow.
“At sea, there is a risk, because sometimes you have nothing to do for minutes so everything runs on automatic, you just sit, comfortable, look out and fall asleep.”
Captain Tadeusz Dudek said that the crew “forgot” to use the alarm system and, if they had used it, the accident would not have happened.