Collision between multipurpose cargo vessel Rickmers Dubai with a crane barge, Walcon Wizard, being towed by tug Kingston

Location: South-west traffic lane of Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme, off the south east coast of England.

Accident Investigation Report 29/2014

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons and recommendations made:

RickmersDubai.pdf (5,326.57 kb)

Rickmers Dubai


On 11 January 2014 a multi-purpose cargo ship Rickmers Dubai collided with the un-manned crane barge Walcon Wizard which was being towed by the tug Kingston in the south-west traffic lane of the Dover Strait TSS. The accident occurred as Rickmers Dubai was overtaking the tug and its tow.

Immediately following the collision, the towline caught on Rickmers Dubai and Kingston was towed stern-first through the water until the towline ran free from its tow winch. Walcon Wizard was badly damaged and Rickmers Dubai’s hull was punctured above the waterline. The hydraulic system for the tow winch on board Kingston was also damaged.

Safety lessons

  • Rickmers Dubai’s OOW was alone on the bridge and he did not see Walcon Wizard. He did not keep a visual lookout or monitor the radar. Instead, he relied solely on AIS information for collision avoidance, which neither Kingston nor Walcon Wizard were transmitting

  • the OOW was relatively inactive throughout his watch and did not take note of safety broadcasts issued by Dover Coastguard which included information regarding the position and movement of Kingston and its tow

  • the towline secured to the winch on board Kingston could not be released from the wheelhouse, highlighting ambiguities in the regulatory requirements for the release of towlines


Recommendations (2014/148 and 2014/149) have been made to the ships’ managers designed to improve the navigational and operational safety of their fleets. A recommendation (2014/147) has also been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency that is intended to improve the effectiveness of the safety messages broadcast by Dover Coastguard.

Published: 23 October 2014

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015