Grounding of combi freighter Kathrin

Location: Goodwin Sands in the Dover Strait, off the south east coast of England.

Accident Investigation Report 24/2006

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

Kathrin.pdf (1,944.44 kb)

Annexes (1,844.97 kb)


At 2232 on 12 February 2006, the Switzerland registered combi freighter Kathrin ran aground on the Goodwin Sands in the Dover Strait. The vessel was re-floated 15 minutes later and continued on passage to New Holland, River Humber, where she arrived on 15 February. There were no injuries or damage to the vessel, and there was no pollution.

Safety Issues

  • although the master had been able to rest as required by ILO 180 and STCW 95, the quality of his rest had possibly been degraded during his five and a half months on board, and he felt tired
  • the master was under the influence of alcohol
  • the ship manager’s alcohol policy lacked any means of enforcement
  • the master was alone on the bridge. Contrary to regulation, and company requirements, it was usual practice on board for an additional lookout not to be used during darkness
  • the bridge watch alarm was not in use, in contravention of company procedures; the master was not aware that one was fitted
  • a similar incident involving the master on 23 October 2005 had not been thoroughly investigated by the ship manager
  • non-compliance with company written procedures with regard to lookout, watch alarms, and leaving the bridge unattended had not been detected during internal and external audits on board the vessel.


A recommendation has been made to the International Chamber of Shipping for the purpose of encouraging ship owners and managers to ensure that safety management systems have sufficient measures to verify that written procedures are complied with. We have produced a short summary of this investigation report to assist with this task.

This report was published on 1 September 2006.

Published 23 January 2015