Following a collision between the forest product carrier Saga Sky and the anchored stone carrying barge Stema Barge II, which occurred close to the port of Dover on November 20, the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has launched a safety investigation of the incident.
Namely, the authorities will look into possible safety breaches which could have led to the incident, which resulted in significant damage to both vessels.
After Saga Sky impacted with Stema Barge II in the morning hours on Sunday, the UK Coastguard evacuated all non-essential crew.
There were no injuries and despite significant hull damage, both vessels remained afloat.
When the weather abated and, following a stability assessment and redistribution of ballast, Saga Sky was able to proceed safely to Dunkirk for assessment.
At the time of the incident Saga Sky was sailing in ballast to Uruguay after it discharged a cargo of wood pulp in Brake, Germany.
As it entered the Dover Strait traffic separation scheme, the weather deteriorated, with wind speeds in excess of 80 knots which led to a drop in the vessel’s speed and it began to pitch heavily. The propeller came out of the water causing the engine to overspeed and shut down, MAIB informed.
Saga Sky’s engine was restarted and the vessel was maneuvered out of the traffic lane. Although both anchors were deployed, the vessel began to drift towards shallow water, subsequently colliding with Stema Barge II.