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Grounding of ro-ro freight vessel Seatruck Performance

The UK MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch) has released Accident Investigation Report 4/2020 into the grounding of a freight vessel.

This roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) freight vessel ran aground while transiting the Greenore Channel in Carlingford Lough, Northern Ireland, soon after departing Warrenpoint for passage to Heysham, England. The ferry quickly developed a 7° list but was able to return to Warrenpoint without assistance. There were no injuries to its 11 passengers and 22 crew, nor any pollution. Subsequent survey and dry dock identified that a tank and a void space on the ferry’s port side had been breached. The ferry was out of service for 3 weeks.

What were the findings?

  • The potential for squat was not considered when calculating the ferry’s under keel clearance before departure, or when considering its speed;
  • Shallow water effects were experienced as the ferry approached the intended alteration, which affected both heading and speed, due to the under keel clearance and the proximity of a charted bank on the south side of the channel;
  • The Master was steering by hand, which reduced his ability to maintain an overview of the situation, and a lack of support from the bridge team made him a single point of failure;
  • The navigational practices being used by Seatruck Performance’s bridge team did not fully incorporate the electronic aids available and were insufficient to assure the vessel’s safe outbound passage, at night.

What were the recommendations?

  • Raise awareness of shallow water effects and improve on-board passage planning;
  • Take further measures to optimise the use of electronic navigation systems and enhance bridge resource management training.

Members may wish to refer to:


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