Collision between container vessel WMS Harlingen and chemical/product tanker Prinkipo

Location: River Humber, England.

Completed PE Summary: WMS Harlingen/Prinkipo

Merchant Vessel 1/Accident Details
Vessel name WMS Harlingen
Registered Owner/Manager WMS Harlingen Navigation Ltd
Port of Registry Limassol
Flag Cyprus
Type Container
Built 2006
Classification Society Germanischer Lloyd
Construction Steel
Length Overall 129.6m
Gross Tonnage 7545
Date/Time 03/05/2007, 0205 (UTC)
Location of Incident Hull Road in the River Humber
Incident Type Collision
Persons Onboard 12
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Minor damage
Merchant Vessel 2/Accident Details
Vessel name Prinkipo
Registered Owner/Manager Soysay shipping
Port of Registry Panama
Flag Panama
Type Chemical/products tanker
Built 1982
Classification Society Det Norske Veritas
Construction Steel
Length Overall 135.73m
Gross Tonnage 7285
Date/Time 03/05/2007, 0205 (UTC)
Location of Incident Hull Road in the River Humber
Incident Type Collision
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Minor damage


At 0205 UTC on 30 June 2007, a collision occurred between the container vessel WMS Harlingen and the product tanker Prinkipo in the River Humber. WMS Harlingen was on passage from Queen Elizabeth Dock in Hull to Southampton, Prinkipo was inbound to King George Dock, also in Hull. Both vessels had a pilot onboard. The weather at the time of the collision was a south-westerly force 3 wind, cloudy, with good visibility. The tide was flooding at between 2-3 knots.

WMS Harlingen departed the lock at 0155 and turned into the channel with the engine, with controllable pitch propeller, set for half ahead. The bridge team of WMS Harlingen moved from the port bridge wing to the centre console, where control of the steering and bowthrust was taken at 0159, and the auto pilot was set to keep to the starboard side of the channel. The engine control was left on the port bridge wing. At this time, Prinkipo was approaching Salt End, and the two vessels were aimimg to pass each other, port to port, at the Anson buoy.

At 0202, the main engine control of the WMS Harlingen was set to stop on the port console, and 18 seconds later the vessel started to take a sheer to port.

The auto pilot applied helm hard to starboard to counter the sheer, the master then confirmed that hard to starboard had been achieved by engaging hand steering. However the vessel continued to swing to port. On the pilot’s instructions, the master moved the engine control at the centre console to full astern, but without effect as the port wing console was still in command of the engine. The bowthrust was started and placed full to starboard with little effect due to the vessel’s speed, of around 9 knots, through the water. On becoming aware that WMS Harlingen was turning towards them, the bridge team on Prinkipo increased speed and altered course to starboard to increase the passing distance, and then to port to reduce the effect of the imminent collision. This manouever was partly succesful and both vessels sustained only minor damage.

WMS Harlingen continued across the channel with her propeller turning at zero pitch, until she grounded a few minutes after the collision. Twelve minutes after the collision, engine control was transferred to the centre console, and shortly after this it was possible to drive the ship, stern first, back into the channel.

Action taken

The Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the managers of WMS Harlingen making the following recommendations:

Review and revise the company’s operating procedures to ensure:

  • Masters are trained and competent in the use of all bridge equipment before taking command

  • Masters are familiar with the principles of Bridge Resource Management, and understand the company’s requirement for utilizing bridge personnel effectively.

Review and revise the company’s shipboard ISM procedures to ensure:

  • Information is immediately available to facilitate prompt and effective responses to emergency situations.

  • Realistic drills are routinely carried out to prepare ship’s staff for potential emergency situations.

Review Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) procedures to:

  • Routinely verify VDR functionality and performance.

  • Provide instructions to ensure data is saved effectively following an incident.

Published 23 January 2015