Chief Officer in grounding incident “overwhelmed”

Written by Nick Blenkey
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The vessel sustained indentations to its bow and bent frames

MAY 10, 2018 — The U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch has issued its report on the October 2017 grounding of the Barbados flagged,1992-built general cargo ship Islay Trader.

During the morning of October 8, 2017, the vessel began dragging its anchor. The ship’s officer of the watch (OOW) attempted to reposition the vessel without the assistance of the master. The OOW subsequently became overwhelmed, uncertain of the ship’s position and at 0242 the vessel grounded near Margate beach. The vessel refloated approximately 12 hours later. There were no injuries and no pollution.

The MAIB says its report highlights the importance of planning when going to anchor and the requirement for ensuring that an effective watch is kept while at anchor.

The report’s conclusions are:

Islay Trader dragged anchor because the length of anchor cable used was insufficient in the tidal conditions experienced.

The chief officer did not monitor the vessel’s position and was not aware that the vessel had dragged anchor until alerted by VTS.

The master was not told that the vessel had dragged anchor because the chief officer did not want to disturb him and he was confident he could reposition the vessel himself.

After weighing anchor, the chief officer soon became uncertain of the vessel’s position and was overwhelmed by the situation.

The navigational practices on board Islay Trader were adversely impacted by the pressures resulting from having only two bridge watchkeepers.

Interventions by London VTS to prevent the vessel from grounding were timely and appropriate.


The MAIB report says that the vessel’s owner and manager, Faversham Ships Ltd. has:

  • Conducted its own investigation, which highlighted that the working practices on board the vessel were not as expected.
  • Issued a fleet circular to inform its masters of the circumstances of this accident and to emphasise the importance of adherence to onboard procedures.
  • Replaced the master and employed an additional navigation officer on board Islay Trader during November 2017.
  • Renamed Islay Trader to Neptune and transferred the vessel to the U.K. ship register.

Download the MAIB report HERE


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