Machinery failure on passenger/freight ro-ro ferry Pride of Calais resulting in contact with berth

Location: Port of Calais, France.

Accident Investigation Report 18/2012

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

PrideofCalais.pdf (0 kb)


At 2326 (UTC+1) on 22 October 2011, the UK registered passenger and freight ro-ro vessel Pride of Calais made heavy contact with No 6 berth in Calais, France, at a speed of 2.5kts. The vessel’s main propulsion had failed as she approached the berth and, although the starboard anchor was let go, the vessel could not be stopped. Pride of Calais suffered minor damage to her bow but nobody on board was seriously injured and there was no pollution.

Safety Issues

The MAIB investigation has identified that the clutches connecting the vessel’s three main engines to their shafts had disengaged almost simultaneously as a result of a reduction in control air pressure. Contributing factors included:

  • of the vessel’s two air compressors, one had recently become unserviceable, and the other was defective and operating below its intended capacity.
  • the cause of the reduction in the control air pressure was not accurately diagnosed by the on-watch engineers, and their actions to maintain and then restore propulsion were ineffective.

A delay in informing the bridge team about the loss of control air, denied the master valuable time in which to assess the alternative courses of action available. The investigation also identified that the applicable onboard emergency situation check cards contained insufficient detail, and that the machinery breakdown drills that had been conducted were unlikely to prepare the crew for the scenario which unfolded on the day of the accident.


A recommendation has been made to the vessel’s manager aimed at improving the effectiveness of its crews when dealing with similar situations in the future.

This report was published on 11 July 2012.

Published 23 January 2015