Contact made by bulk carrier Antonis with swing bridge

Location: Langton-Alexandra swing bridge in the Port of Liverpool, England.

Accident Investigation Report 10/2011

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

AntonisReport.pdf (456.41 kb)


Antonis, a Greek registered bulk carrier, was being manoeuvred stern-first from the port of Liverpool’s Langton Dock to Alexandra Dock with a pilot on board. As she entered the passageway between the docks, her stern started to drift towards the eastern wall under the influence of a north-westerly wind. The pilot was unable to counter the drift, and the vessel’s hull, in way of a topside fuel oil tank, made contact with the sharp edge of a counterweight fitted on the open swing bridge. This caused a 1.5 metre gash in the vessel’s side that resulted in about 330 tonnes of fuel oil spilling into the dock system.

Safety Issues

  • although the pilot used the vessel’s rudder and ordered the third tug to push, he was unable to regain control of the vessel and counter the stern’s drift towards the eastern wall
  • prior to the accident, the port authority had not identified that the counterweight on the refurbished bridge posed a hazard to vessels using the passageway
  • poor fendering and lighting, and lack of protection for the exposed bridge end had been highlighted previously in meetings between the port authority and pilotage services company
  • no formal risk assessment had been conducted since the bridge had been refurbished


A recommendation (2011/118) has been made to Mersey Docks and Harbour Company Ltd to expedite measures planned which are designed to improve the safety of vessels using the Langton-Alexandra passageway.

This report was published on 2 June 2011.

Published 23 January 2015