Grounding of ro-ro passenger ferry Pride of Canterbury while sheltering from heavy weather

Location: The Downs, off Deal, Kent, England.

Accident Investigation Report 2/2009

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

PrideofCanterburyReport.pdf (1,188.90 kb)

Annexes (1,976.79 kb)


On 31 January 2008, the Roll on Roll off Passenger ferry, Pride of Canterbury, grounded on a charted wreck while sheltering from heavy weather in an area known as ‘The Downs’ off Deal, Kent. The vessel suffered severe damage to her port propeller system but was able to proceed unaided to Dover, where she berthed with the assistance of two tugs.

Safety issues

  • the bridge team became distracted by a fire alarm and a number of telephone calls for information of a non-navigational nature

  • the vessel overshot the northern limit of the safe area before the turn was started

  • the officer of the watch was navigating by eye and with reference to an electronic chart system which was sited prominently at the front of the bridge, but he was untrained in the use and limitations of the system

  • the wreck would not have been displayed on the electronic chart due to the user settings in use at the time. A paper chart was available, but positions had only been plotted on it sporadically and it was not referred to at the crucial time


A recommendations has been made to Interferry and the International Chamber of Shipping.

A safety flyer to the shipping industry highlighting a number of the safety lessons was produced for this report.

This report was published on 14 January 2009.

Published 23 January 2015