Dragging anchor and grounding by general cargo vessel Baltic Champ

Location: Off Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report: Baltic Champ

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

baltic champ.pdf (758.36 kb)


On 4 February 1999 Panamanian registered general cargo vessel Baltic Champ dragged its anchor and grounded off Kirkwall, Scotland. In the prevailing weather conditions the lone watchkeeper failed to detect the vessel drifting astern in time to prevent the grounding. Damage was sustained to the hull. The vessel was refloated on the next tide and was manoeuvred clear before a tow could be established.

Safety Issues

  • prevailing weather conditions
  • close proximity of a leeshore
  • undue reliance on the officer of the watch to detect immediately any drift
  • inadequate length of cable used to anchor the vessel
  • inadequate monitoring of the vessel’s position


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is recommended to review its dedicated United Kingdom emergency towage cover, taking into account the desirability of securing a towing contract in deteriorating situations where one cannot be agreed by commercially interested parties.

This report was published in July 1999.

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015