Grounding of buoy-laying vessel Patricia

Location: Off Norfolk, England.

Completed PE Summary: Patricia

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Registered Owner & Manager:   Trinity House
Port of registry:   London
Flag:   UK
Type:   Commercial vessel
Built:   1982
Length overall:   86.34
Gross tonnage:   2639.00
Date & Time   27/09/03 19:15
Location of incident:   English coastal waters
Incident Type:   Grounding
Injuries/ fatalities:   None
Damage/ Pollution:   Material damage


An 80 metre commercial vessel was required to undertake a passage in a region where Sandbanks were common.

The vessel began the passage on autopilot, to the north of her intended track and with the master on the bridge. There was a strong tidal stream running to the south, and this was expected to compensate for the difference in starting position. A she passed over the bank, at about 9 knots, where the chart gave depths of 8-9 metres, the echo sounder gave a minimum depth of 10 metres. Once the echo sounder began to give readings of 20 metres or more, the master assumed he was in clear water, and increased speed.

A few minutes later a slight shudder was felt. The vessel had grounded.

With the assistance of both a rising tide and a tug the vessel was refloated several hours later and was able to proceed to a repair yard for closer inspection.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has made recommendations to the vessel’s owner and The Hydrographic Office with reference to:

  • Passage planning

  • Chart warnings

Published 23 January 2015