Grounding of cargo vessel Clarity

Location: River Tay, Scotland.

Completed PE Summary: Clarity

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Registered Owner & Manager:   Baltnautic Shipping, Klaipeda
Port of registry:   Kingstown
Flag:   St Vincent & Grenadines
Type:   Cargo
Built:   1981
Classification society:   Germanischer Lloyd
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   69.88 metres
Gross tonnage:   935
Date & Time   26/10/2006 18:25
Location of incident:   River Tay, Scotland
Incident Type:   Grounding
Persons onboard:   6
Injuries/ fatalities:   None
Damage/ Pollution:   None

Synopsis

At 1825 BST, the loaded cargo vessel Clarity grounded at slow speed on the river bed above a gas pipeline buried beneath the River Tay. The vessel was on passage to the Port of Perth and weather conditions were poor with storm force winds from the WSW at the time of the grounding. The vessel was undamaged and she re-floated on the following tide and then continued upriver safely to her berth.

The prime reason for the accident was an exceptional “cut” in the tide of more than 60cm from the predicted level. This phenomena, which is unpredictable on the River Tay, was caused by the particular meteorological conditions. The gas pipeline crosses the river at a shallow point and this was the second grounding at this location within twelve months.

The investigation discovered that the pipeline is buried well beneath the river bed and encased in concrete and not, therefore, liable to be damaged by vessels taking the ground. However it was considered prudent for the port to take appropriate action to avoid any repetition. A tidal gauge fitted at Newburgh, further downriver from the pipeline had been inoperable for over a year and there was no precise indication of tidal height at the pipeline crossing.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the harbour master of the Port of Perth noting:

  • the port’s decision to place a fixed tide gauge and weather station at the affected gas pipeline crossing; and

  • its decision to change the Newburgh tide gauge’s remote operating modem to GSM technology; and,

  • requesting the port authority to keep the MAIB lead inspector apprised of progress with these actions.


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