Contact made by passenger vessel Millennium Diamond with Tower Bridge

Location: Tower Bridge on the River Thames, London, England.

Accident Investigation Report 7/2015

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

MAIB investigation report 7-2015: Millennium Diamond

Photograph of Millennium Diamond


On 4 June 2014 the passenger vessel Millennium Diamond made contact with Tower Bridge, London while on passage from Greenwich to Tower Pier, with 126 passengers and 6 crew on board. Ten passengers and crew were injured and the vessel’s hull was damaged.

Safety lessons

  • the mate became distracted while replaying an unexpected VHF message about the closure of Tower Pier

  • the layout of wheelhouse equipment resulted in the mate not maintaining a proper lookout while replaying the VHF message

  • no Public Address announcement was made as activating the microphone did not automatically take priority over pre-recorded broadcasts

  • the vessel’s proximity to Tower Bridge and the speed of encounter was such that there was insufficient time in which to prevent the contact once the vessel had veered off course

  • there was no agreed holding area for the vessel to use when Tower Pier was temporarily closed

  • the syllabus for the Boatmaster’s licence examination did not test a candidate’s understanding of the risks arising from distraction and the proximity of hazards and the speed of encounter of vessels in the confined waters of the river

  • the Honourable Artillery Company did not inform the PLA that the time of the gun salute had been changed

  • unsecured storage equipment and drinks cans caused injuries to crew members when they became dislodged as a result of the contact


City Cruises plc has been recommended (2015/114) to review the ergonomics of the vessel’s wheelhouse to minimise the risk of distraction and; to expedite planned measures designed to address a number of safety issues identified in this report.

The Port of London Authority is recommended (2015/115) to promote the inclusion of potential holding areas in the port passage plans of commercial vessels operating in the Thames that may be used in the event of temporary pier closures.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been recommended (2015/116) to take action designed to ensure applicants for Boatmaster’s Licences can demonstrate inter alia, awareness about the risks posed by distraction.

Published 5 March 2015