Grounding of container vessel Cosco Hongkong

Location: Dadanwei Shuidao channel, 15 miles south of Hong Kong.

Completed PE Summary: COSCO Hongkong

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name COSCO Hongkong
Manager COSCO Maritime (UK) Limited
Ship Owner Coswin Shipping Limited
Port of Registry London
Flag UK
Classification Society American Bureau of Shipping
Type Container - fully cellular - 5446 teu
Built 2001
Construction Steel
Length Overall 262.32m
Gross Tonnage 6553
Date/Time 20/03/2009, 0708 (CET)
Location of Incident Dadanwei Shuidao, 15 miles south of Hong Kong
Incident Type Grounding
Persons Onboard 25
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Hull plating damage/None


COSCO Hongkong was on passage from Xiamen to Nansha, China at a speed of 21 knots when she encountered a large number of fishing vessels in the Dadanwei Shuidao channel. This dramatically increased the workload of the OOW, who was accompanied on the bridge by a lookout. To keep clear of the fishing vessels, the OOW manoeuvred the vessel to the south of her intended track using the auto-pilot. In doing so, he forgot about the proximity of the Lixin Pai reef, over which the charted water depth was only 3.1m and which had been highlighted as a danger on the paper chart in use. The vessel passed over the reef and grounded momentarily. She was then anchored to allow an assessment of the damage to be completed.

Although the vessel suffered extensive damage to her hull plating, which resulted in the free-flooding of a number of ballast tanks, she was able to continue to Nansha.

Action taken

The Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the vessel’s manager strongly advising it to take measures to ensure that all passage plans are critically reviewed by masters to identify the areas in which routine bridge manning potentially requires enhancement, and where the speed of transit requires careful consideration. The vessels manager has also been advised to stress to its bridge watchkeeping officers the importance of calling a master whenever in doubt or when having difficulty in keeping a vessel safe.

Published: May 2009

Published 23 January 2015