Catastrophic failure of the hull of dumb barge Henty Supplier

Location: Huskisson Dock No 3, Liverpool, England.

Completed PE Summary: Henty Supplier

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Henty Supplier
Registered Owner and Manager Henty Oil Limited
Port of Registry Unregistered
Type Dumb barge
Built 1955
Classification Society None
Construction Steel
Length Overall 97.82m
Gross Tonnage 1720.8
Date/Time: 19/07/2010, 1313 (BST)
Location of Incident Huskisson Dock No 3, Liverpool
Incident Type Structural failure
Persons Onboard None
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Buckling of the hull leading to a transverse split along a cross-deck weld adjacent to hatch coamings in way of number 4 cargo tank


At 1313 BST on 19 July 2010, the dumb barge Henty Supplier loaded with approximately 1850m³ of gas oil suffered a catastrophic failure of her hull while alongside Huskisson Dock in Liverpool. Approximately 50m³ of the gas oil spilled into the dock, but was quickly contained by terminal and port authority personnel. There were no injuries but the barge was a constructive total loss.

The barge was purchased by Henty Oil Ltd in 2004 and lay alongside in Liverpool until entering service as a floating oil storage vessel in 2006. Her suitability for this use was confirmed by annual ‘fit for purpose’ surveys conducted in accordance with the port’s regulations. The surveys did not identify the lack of basic stability and bending moment information, or require the barge to be inspected in dry dock.

It is probable that the structural failure of the hull resulted from long-term fatigue compounded by the distribution of the cargo, which would have induced a near maximum bending moment with the barge in a sagged condition. There were no written procedures for the loading or discharge of the barge’s cargo.

Action taken

  • The Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to Henty Oil Ltd advising that, when using a barge for oil storage and distribution purposes in the future, all cargo is loaded and discharged in accordance with written procedures, taking into account relevant stability and bending moment limitations, and industry best practice.

  • The Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has also written to Mersey Ports strongly advising it ensures that all ‘fit for purpose’ surveys are carried out to a common standard and give due consideration to a vessel’s age and operation.

Published: August 2010

Published 23 January 2015