Grounding of general cargo vessel Nova

Location: Approaches to Rye Harbour, England.

Completed PE Summary: Nova

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Nova
Manager Wijnne & Barends
Port of Registry Delfzijl
Flag Netherlands
Classification Society Lloyd’s Register
Type General cargo vessel
Built 2002
Construction Steel
Length Overall 79.98m
Gross Tonnage 1978
Date/Time 21/12/2007, 1321
Location of Incident Approaches to Rye Harbour
Incident Type Grounding
Persons Onboard 7
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Ship holed/None


When entering the port of Rye, England, in daylight, the general cargo ship Nova grounded on a harbour training wall. A harbour pilot was embarked and was conning the vessel; the ship’s master was on the helm. The grounding occurred within the port limits and resulted from an inability to check the vessel’s turn into the main approach channel. The ship was re-floated at 1332 with the assistance of a pilot launch and berthed in Rye Harbour at 1359.

The ship was holed below the waterline in way of the forepeak and No4 and No7 double bottom tanks. There was minor damage to the harbour training wall.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the port authority, advising:

  • The re-evaluation of the approach to the port normally adopted by pilots in order to avoid significant course alterations in close proximity to the entrance channel whenever possible.

  • Pilots always request information relating to the rudder and steering arrangements, propulsion type and power output, propeller type and manoeuvring characteristics of vessels, when such information is not otherwise offered.

  • Key information pertinent to the safe navigation of a vessel in the port is obtained prior to her arrival, particularly when it is a ship’s first visit.

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has also written to the ship manager, advising:

  • The information contained on the pilot cards carried by its ships includes the manoeuvring characteristics of the vessel concerned, such as the effects of the wind and behaviour at slow speed and in shallow water.

  • Its masters to discuss all the information contained on the pilot card with the pilot as soon as the pilot embarks.

Published 23 January 2015