Grounding of ro-ro cargo ferry Stena Pioneer

Location: Fleetwood Channel, England.

Completed PE Summary: Stena Pioneer

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Stena Pioneer
IMO Number 7361570
Registered Owner Stena AB
Port of Registry Hamilton
Flag Bermuda
Type Ferry
Built 1975
Construction Steel
Length Overall 141.8m
Gross Tonnage 14426
Date/Time 23/03/2010, 2305 (UTC)
Location of Incident Fleetwood Channel, close to buoy 13
Incident Type Grounding
Persons Onboard 77
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Minor hull paint damage/None


The ro-ro ferry Stena Pioneer departed her berth in Fleetwood for an overnight crossing to Larne. Early in to the passage, the vessel turned wide, left the deepwater channel and grounded on a bank of sand and mud. The vessel met with superficial damage to paintwork and refloated without assistance approximately 45 minutes later, proceeding to Larne without further incident.

The preliminary examination identified that the master did not conduct a pre-departure briefing; there was insufficient information flow between the bridge personnel; the available decision support systems were not consulted once the vessel was aground; and appropriate action was not taken to notify the crew, passengers or any external authorities of the vessel’s predicament.

Action taken

Stena Line has conducted an internal investigation and intends, through interview, bridge team management and crew resource management courses, to address the sequence of events which led to this incident. It is proposed that random audits will be taken of other Stena Line Ltd vessel bridge management practices as a means to guard against the repeat of a similar incident. The Deputy Chief Inspector has also written to the company encouraging it to consider the risks associated with manning its vessels with a high proportion of relief and stand in engine room and bridge officers.

Published: June 2010

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015