Grounding of emergency towing vessel Anglian Sovereign

Location: Bulta Skerry near Scalloway, Shetland Islands, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 16/2006

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

Anglian-Sovereign.pdf (962.61 kb)


At about 2137 on 3 September 2005, the emergency towing vessel Anglian Sovereign ran aground on the small island of Bulta Skerry, 3 miles west of Scalloway, in the Shetland Islands. There were no injuries to the crew, but the vessel was severely damaged and about 84 tonnes of gas oil were lost into the environment.

Safety Issues

  • the master’s alcohol consumption was the major causal factor of this accident
  • the master routinely consumed alcohol onboard, despite company policy
  • other senior officers were aware that the master had been drinking, but took no action
  • the master was alone on watch on the bridge at night in contravention of STCW and MSN 1767. 1 2 (PDF, 251KB)
  • proper navigational practices were not observed onboard
  • after the grounding, there was no effective command and control of the emergency situation onboard
  • Klyne Tugs’s Safety Management System and auditing system had proved ineffective on alcohol and navigational practices
  • as charterers, the MCA had an inadequate regime for verification that the ETVs were being operated to an appropriate standard


Recommendations have been made to Klyne Tugs on its Safety Management System and auditing and also to the MCA to establish an effective verification regime.

This report was published on 30 June 2006.

Published 23 January 2015