MAIB – Arrow Report Published

Grounding of a ro-ro freight ferry in thick fog while entering Aberdeen Harbour, Scotland.

Ro-ro freight ferry Arrow aground in fog on the southern edge of the Navigation Channel

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened and actions taken:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/60dc6b66e90e077176c20127/2021-08-Arrow-Report.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/60dc6ba0d3bf7f7c389ab2c0/2021-08-Arrow-Annexes.pdf

Summary

At 0727 on 25 June 2020, the Isle of Man registered ro-ro freight ferry Arrow grounded in thick fog while entering Aberdeen Harbour. During its port approach, a pilot exemption certificate (PEC) holder provided by the vessel’s charterer was navigating by radar and steering the vessel.

The vessel encountered the thick fog a few minutes before it entered Aberdeen’s 70m wide Navigation Channel, and with limited support from the bridge team, the PEC holder became overloaded. Consequently, while attempting to correct a deviation to the north of the planned track, he over corrected to the south. The over-correction was not noticed by the bridge team in time to avoid the grounding.

After grounding, the vessel began to list significantly in the falling tide. After confirming no water ingress into the hull, with the assistance of a tug, the master used Arrow’s engines and bow thruster to refloat the vessel. There were no injuries or pollution but there was significant damage to the hull.

Safety issues

  • Arrow’s bridge team was not fully prepared for pilotage in restricted visibility. There was no effective shared mental model of the pilotage plan and the vessel’s progress along it.
  • The level of support provided to the PEC holder by the bridge team was poor.
  • Navigation techniques used did not provide Arrow’s bridge team with an accurate view of the available safe water in the Aberdeen approach channel.
  • Poor bridge ergonomics and limited electronic chart system capabilities meant that the PEC holder was navigating by use of radar alone.

Recommendations

As a result of the actions taken following this investigation, no recommendations have been made.

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