Grounding of tug Svitzer Waterston during familarisation trials

Location: Near Chapel Rocks, Milford Haven, England.

Completed PE Summary: Svitzer Waterston

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name:   Svitzer Waterston
Ship Owner:   Svitzer Marine Ltd
Propulsion:   Twin asimuthing stern drives
Port of Registry:   Milford Haven
Flag:   United Kingdom
Type:   Tug
Built:   2008
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   34m
Gross tonnage:   686
Date & Time:   2 August 2008, 1340
Location of incident:   Milford Haven - East Channel
Incident Type:   Grounding
Persons onboard:   3 (+2+2)
Injuries/fatalities:   None
Damage/pollution:   Nil/Port drive unit disabled


The day after her delivery voyage to Milford Haven, the tug Svitzer Waterston was conducting propulsion trials with her new master onboard. Two other local tug masters were also onboard taking the opportunity to start familiarising themselves with the tug.

During the full speed straight runs required for the trials, numerous alarms sounded on the bridge. These were cancelled with some difficulty as a result of the lack of familiarity of those onboard with the bridge equipment.

After the trials, as the tug headed back towards the harbour, one of the familiarisation skippers took the con to get a feel of the controls. During this time the tug left the main channel to the west and grounded briefly in the area of Chapel Rocks.

Subsequent investigations established that the port drive unit was seriously damaged and required dry docking for repairs to be conducted.

Action taken

As a result of the accident Svitzer management has initiated actions on tug familiarisation procedures, tug passage planning, bridge resource management and procedures for taking over the con of the tug.

Published: September 2008

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