Dragging anchor and grounding of tanker Willy

Location: Cawsand Bay, Plymouth Sound, England.

Accident Investigation Report 31/2002

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

willy.pdf (375.52 kb)


At 2250 UTC on 1 January 2002, mv Willy grounded in Cawsand Bay, Plymouth Sound, after dragging her anchor.

Safety Issues

  • the ship was exposed to strong south-easterly winds in Cawsand Bay which, together with pitching owing to her light condition and the swell, increased the loading on her cable and anchor
  • the OOW did not start the main engine until ordered to do so by the master
  • the overall speed at which the anchor was dragged, limited the time available in which to take corrective action to about 16 minutes


Safety recommendations have been made to ship owners and masters in our Safety Bulletin 1/2002 (PDF, 178KB).

This report was published in April 2002.

Published 23 January 2015