The U.K.’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has issued its report on the investigation of the December 2018 grounding and recovery of the container feeder vessel Thea II and the tug Svitzer Josephine in the approaches to the Humber Estuary.
The vessels ran aground in storm force conditions on the evening of December 15, 2018, while the tug was towing the container feeder ship after the latter suffered an engine failure while approaching the Humber pilot station.
Both vessels refloated with the tide later that night, and Svitzer Josephine was able to return to harbor 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.
According to MAIB’s report, 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.
The report also revealed that Thea II dragged its anchor while await tugs to tow it into harbor because sufficient chain and/or the second anchor had not been used.
The delays in Thea II securing a tow after refloating were due to the manager’s lack of awareness of their vessel’s situation, MAIB determined. They eventually approved a tow when the UK Secretary of States representative (SOSREP) threatened to issue direction.