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Marine Electronics & Communications

ACCIDENT: MAIB investigates two UK groundings in three days

Thu 12 Oct 2017 by Martyn Wingrove

ACCIDENT: MAIB investigates two UK groundings in three days
Islay Trader grounded at Margate, Kent on 8 October

UK Government’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch is investigating why two ships grounded in different parts of the UK over a period of three days. Both general cargo ships struck rock and were refloated to continue their voyage. However, there are questions over why they grounded in the first place.

On 10 October, cargo ship Ruyter, with eight crew on board, ran aground at Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland. The vessel was sailing from Lomonosov, Russia in the Gulf of Finland to Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland. A lifeboat from Portrush was launched but Ruyter had already been refloated without assistance and without injuries to continue its voyage.

This followed a grounding on 8 October in southeast England when general cargo vessel Islay Trader struck the Kent coast at Margate. During that incident, Tug Christine was mobilised from the Medway area of north Kent to the accident site and was able to refloat the stricken ship 12 hours after the grounding.

Islay Trader’s six crew members remained on board during the accident and while the tug removed the ship from the sea bed. Once refloated, the ship continued its voyage to Antwerp, in Belgium carrying its cargo of broken glass.

It is not yet known why these ships grounded, whether it was a navigation accident or due to machinery failure. But the MAIB will investigate these incidents thoroughly, as it did in the death of a Thames pilot in 2016. The MAIB published a report today (12 October) into the accident on 5 October 2016, when a pilot fell from launch vessel Patrol when being transferred to the Bahamas-registered and Misje Rederi-operated, general cargo vessel Sunmi in the Thames.

The government organisation is tasked with investigating accidents in UK waters and involving British-flagged ships. Therefore, the MAIB is likely to be investigating a collision involving a UK-flagged ship in Brazil.

British bulk carrier Eden Bay was in a collision with fertilizer carrier Mazury in Curuá-Fazendinhin Canal at Macapá on the Amazon River. According to local reports, Eden Bay was waiting for permission to anchor when the incident occurred. Both vessels were en route to Manaus and had pilots on board. Both suffered damage to superstructure and had hull breaches above their waterlines.

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