A Marine Accident Investigation Bureau (MAIB) report into the grounding and recovery of container feeder vessel, Thea II, and tug Svitzer Josephine, in the approaches to the Humber Estuary, has recommended that Thea II's managers, TS-Shipping, review its emergency response organisation and procedures.
On the evening of 15 December 2018, Thea II was on its way from Amsterdam bound for Hull with 85 containers landed, 46 of which were on deck.
Approaching the Humber pilot station, the vessel suffered engine failure and had to anchor to await tugs to tow it into harbour. In storm force conditions, the container vessel dragged its anchor towards the Binks Shoal.
Both Thea II and Svitzer Josephine ran aground before it could be towed clear. Later that night both vessels refloated with the tide. Svitzer Josephine was able to return to harbour under its own power. After some delays while the ship managers tried to negotiate contractual terms with another tug operator, Thea II was towed clear of the bank and was eventually towed into Hull two days later. There were no injuries and no pollution.
The MAIB investigation found that, the master of Thea II had not deployed all his remaining chain or the vessel's second anchor. Had he done so, it would have slowed or stopped the vessel's rate of drift, allowing more time to secure lines and tow the vessel clear.
The report also found that Svitzer Josephine grounded because its master, who was focused on securing the towline to the stricken container vessel and did not have a navigational plan to keep his vessel safe, became disorientated.
Delays in Thea II securing a tow after refloating were due to the ship manager's lack of awareness of its vessel's situation. It eventually approved a tow when the UK Secretary of States representative (SOSREP) threatened to issue direction.
The MAIB's recommendations to TS-Shipping to review its emergency response organisation and procedures, were made with the aim of 'improving decision making and the clarity of advice provided to its vessels'.
Since the accident, Associated British Ports Humber and Svitzer Marine Ltd, have conducted internal investigations into the accident and reviewed their risk assessments and operating procedures.
Read the full report here