Contact made by bulk carrier Amber with moored barges and its subsequent grounding

Location: Denton Wharf, Gravesend Reach on the River Thames, London.

Accident Investigation Report 22/2013

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

mvAmber.pdf (1,478.90 kb)

Annexes (2,692.32 kb)


On 15 November 2012 the bulk carrier Amber made contact with moored craft and grounded on the south shore of the River Thames, England shortly after departing from Tilbury power station. The vessel’s bridge team lost situational awareness in dense fog as the vessel manoeuvred from the berth on the north shore, before grounding on the opposite side of the river.

Amber’s shell plating was holed above the waterline as a result of the contact damage. A number of barges and other craft were damaged by the contact and one was set adrift when its moorings were broken.

Safety issues

  • the accident was caused by the bridge team’s loss of situational awareness as the vessel left the berth in restricted visibility
  • the roles and responsibilities of the bridge team had not been confirmed before departure
  • no continuous radar watch was kept
  • the vessel’s position, course and speed were not effectively monitored during the manoeuvre


Recommendations have been made to the vessel’s managers (2013/227 & 228), the harbour authority (2013/229 & 230), the tug operator (2013/231) and the International Chamber of Shipping (2013/232) which are designed to improve the performance of bridge teams and pilots when manoeuvring in harbours, particularly when operating in conditions of restricted visibility.

This report was published on 24 October 2013.

Published 23 January 2015