Grounding of general cargo vessel Emsland

Location: Departing the Port of Montrose, Scotland.

Completed PE Summary: Emsland

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Registered Owner & Manager:   Heli Schiffahrts Verwaltungs GmbH & Co KG ms ‘Emsland’
Port of registry:   St Johns
Flag:   Antigua & Barbuda
Type:   General cargo
Built:   1984
Classification society:   Germanischer Lloyd
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   80.17m
Gross tonnage:   1857
Date & Time   29 December 2006, 1606 UTC
Location of incident:   Montrose, Scotland
Incident Type:   Grounding
Persons onboard:   6
Injuries/ fatalities:   None
Damage/ Pollution:   Damage to steering gear. No pollution


In semi-darkness and adverse weather conditions, the general cargo ship Emsland grounded whilst leaving the port of Montrose, Scotland. The master had conduct of the vessel, and was assisted on the bridge by the chief officer. The grounding occurred within the port limits and resulted from the ship being set out of the narrow navigable channel by the wind and swell, shortly after the harbour pilot had disembarked.

Although initial attempts to re-float the ship using a local lifeboat and tug were unsuccessful, she was eventually re-floated on 4 January 2007 after her bunkers and about 500t of her timber cargo was removed. The ship was then towed back to Montrose for survey.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the:

  • port authority, strongly advising that it reviews its pilotage directions and risk assessments related to the safety of navigation, paying particular attention to the position of pilot disembarkation and the manoeuvrability of vessels.

  • ship’s owner, strongly advising that he ensure that the ship’s masters are aware of the manoeuvring characteristics of the vessel, including the power output of the main engine, and that passage planning and onboard instructions are sufficiently detailed.

  • Antigua & Barbuda Register, advising it to obtain independent verification of the power output of the ship’s main engine, and to ensure that the correct output is used on all appropriate documentation.

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