Report on UK Riverdance Casualty

September 8, 2009

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) released the report of its investigation into the grounding and subsequent loss of the ro-ro cargo vessel Riverdance on Shell Flats – Cleveleys Beach, Lancashire on 31 January 2008. The root cause seems to have been complacency. The true weights and dispositions of the cargo were not calculated, nor was the ship’s stability. Despite the heavy weather conditions, some openings on the weather deck were not closed off. The ship proceeded in following seas at a speed slightly slower than that of the following wave train. A late attempt to bring the ship’s head into the wind was not thought through and exacerbated the ship’s port heel. The excessive heel caused the port main engine to trip, leaving the ship without sufficient power to bring its head into the wind or to avoid grounding. Because the distribution of weights on board the ship was unknown, the amount of ballast transferred immediately after the grounding was based on the master’s estimate. The owner’s shore-based crisis management team did not have access to accurate stability information and was unable to adequately support the master. Fortunately, the crew was safely evacuated. Attempts to refloat the ship were unsuccessful and it was eventually cut up in-situ. Report No. 18/2009 (9/3/09).

(Source: Bryant’s Maritime News)

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