MARS 207 - January 2010


Providing learning through confidential reports – an international cooperative scheme for improving safety

Grounded on spoil ground

After arriving at a minor far-eastern port, a VLCC drawing 19.5 metres made several attempts to contact port control in order to obtain a designated safe anchoring position. This was considered necessary as there appeared to be conflicting advice between the international and local navigation charts and that provided verbally by the agent. Being unable to get advice from shore authorities, despite repeated calls, the master decided to rely on the international chart and anchored at the recommended position.

The next day, the vessel picked up anchor and proceeded towards the pilot station on a flood tide. Weather conditions were good with clear visibility. Proper monitoring of the vessel’s position was carried out. Suddenly, without warning, and with some miles still to go to the pilot station, the vessel ran aground. The vessel’s speed at time of grounding was 5.8 knots in charted water depths of between 24-27 m. Taking into account the height of tide at the time and the vessel’s draught, the vessel should have had at least 3.0 m under-keel clearance (UKC), about 15 per cent of the draught. Fortunately, there was no damage to the vessel and no pollution.

Read what went wrong, as well as corrective/preventative actions in the attached MARS report; along with other safety issues.


Staff Author