MAIB: Insufficient Anchor Cable Led to River Humber Collision

Damage to Celtic Spirit's port side quarterImage Courtesy: MAIB

Insufficient anchor cable and an unprepared crew have led to a collision between three ships on the River Humber, according to a report by UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

The UK-registered general cargo vessel Celtic Spirit dragged its anchor in heavy weather on the River Humber in the early morning hours of March 1, 2018.

The vessel subsequently collided with the research and survey vessel Atlantic Explorer and the 4,100-dwt general cargo vessel Celtic Warrior, which were also at anchor. All three vessels sustained shell plate damage, but there were no injuries and no pollution.

Following an investigation into the incident, MAIB concluded that Celtic Spirit dragged its anchor because insufficient anchor cable had been deployed for the tidal range and environmental conditions experienced.

The investigation also found that the Celtic Spirit’s watchkeeper did not immediately recognise the ship was dragging its anchor because the anchor position monitoring interval was not appropriate. Additionally, the watchkeeper did not alert Vessel Traffic Services or nearby vessels that his own ship was dragging anchor.

Furthermore, Celtic Spirit was unable to manoeuvre quickly because its engines were not on immediate readiness.

“The vessel collided with Atlantic Explorer and Celtic Warrior because its crew were unable to arrest the vessel’s drift and, due to the proximity of the vessels, there was insufficient time for them to get out of the way,” MAIB said in the report.

“Lack of company guidance meant that there was an inconsistent approach to engine readiness on board sister vessels in the same fleet and class conditions relating to engine readiness while operating with only one anchor were not followed or understood.”

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