Failure of controllable pitch propeller on cargo vessel CFL Patron resulting in contact with lock gates and tug Guardsman

Location: Immingham Docks, England.

Completed PE Summary: CFL Patron

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name:   CFL Patron
Registered owner:   CFL Patron
Manager:   CFL Shipmanagement B.V.
Port of registry:   Groningen
Flag:   Netherlands
Type:   General cargo vessel
Built:   2008
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   118.4m
Gross tonnage:   4,106
Date & time:   29 August 2010, 0932 UTC
Location of incident:   Immingham lock
Incident type:   Machinery failure resulting in contact
Persons on board:   9
Injuries/fatalities:   None
Damage/pollution:   Minor damage to vessel; major damage to the east outer lock gate and minor damage to other lock gates; minor damage to the attending tug Guardsman


The general cargo vessel CFL Patron suffered a controllable pitch propeller (CPP) control power failure while manoeuvring at 1.6 knots in the lock at Immingham docks, prior to departing the port. Despite the master’s attempts to recover control of the CPP system, the pitch remained at approximately 40% ahead, causing the vessel to accelerate. Although a forward spring was deployed and the tug Guardsman attempted to slow the vessel’s progress by pushing, the vessel impacted heavily with the outer lock gates at 3.7 knots. The east outer gate sustained major damage and subsequently sank, with minor damage reported to other lock gates. The lock was re-opened over 24 hours later with vessel-length operational restrictions after the sunken gate was recovered. Both CFL Patron and the tug sustained minor damage, the former to her bulbous bow; there were no injuries or pollution. The cause of the CPP control power failure could not be determined.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the vessel’s manager, CFL Shipmanagement B.V., regarding emergency preparedness for propulsion failures on its vessels; pre-departure testing of propulsion systems; and preservation of evidence and data following an accident.


Published: November 2010



Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information, eg your National Insurance number or credit card details.