Entanglement in moorings of smaller vessels by ro-ro cargo ferry Claymore during attempt to berth

Location: St Margaret's Hope Harbour, Orkney, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 24/2003

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

Claymore.pdf (809.10 kb)


On 11 March 2003, the ro-ro ferry Claymore, with twelve passengers embarked, was attempting to berth in St Margaret’s Hope, Orkney, when the vessel’s movement could not be controlled in the gale force winds. The ship was blown away from her intended berth and her starboard propeller became entangled in the moorings of smaller vessels, causing her starboard engine to shut down automatically. The Longhope lifeboat evacuated the passengers before assisting a workboat to tow Claymore alongside. There were no injuries

Safety Issues

  • no operational limits or contingency plans were in force in the event of adverse weather in St Margaret’s Hope.
  • the master was inexperienced in handling Claymore, which had a large “sail area” forward, and might have felt pressured into trying to berth the vessel
  • unavailability of the bow thruster following seawater saturation via a defective exhaust vent flap. Some of the ship’s crew were aware of the defect to the exhaust flap but no remedial action had been taken
  • the starboard anchor would not release because it was seized in its hawse pipe. It had not been used for several months, and had not been walked back clear of the hawse in preparation for letting go
  • ineffective bridge management and a breakdown in communication with the forward mooring team resulted in a mooring line, which had been passed and secured to the jetty, being lost from the inboard end
  • insufficient time and resources had been allocated to prepare Claymore for returning into service
  • neither international nor domestic safety management regulations were applicable


Recommendations have been addressed to the MCA relating to the application and requirements of safety management systems. Recommendations have also been made to Pentland Ferries, the owner of Claymore, which, if implemented, should help improve the safety of its operation.

This report was published in October 2003.

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015