Collision between harbour tug Thorngarth and its tow chemical/oil carrier Stolt Aspiration

Location: River Mersey, Liverpool, England.

Accident Investigation Report 21/2005

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

Stolt Asp-Thorngarth.pdf (591.20 kb)


At about 0210 on 13 April 2005, the UK registered tug Thorngarth was assisting the Liberian registered chemical tanker Stolt Aspiration and acting as bow tug. The two vessels collided when Thorngarth was attempting to recover her position ahead of Stolt Aspiration.

Safety Issues

  • tug master’s lack of familiarity with the tug and the lack of training in the particular manoeuvre he was required to perform


A recommendation has been made to major tug operators, the British Tugowners Association (BTA), and the PMSC (Port Marine Safety Code) steering group. The recommendation is aimed at encouraging discussion between all parties when deciding the optimum allocation of tugs for all manoeuvres within a port, and the level of crew experience required for each task. A further recommendation has been made to the BTA to encourage its members to ensure that the movement of personnel between tugs is closely monitored, and that training and expertise of tugs’ crews is matched, and is consistent with the type of tug and its expected task requirement.

A safety bulletin was also issued as a result of this investigation.

This report was published in November 2005.

Published 23 January 2015