Parting of mooring line on oil products tanker Alfa Britannia and striking crew on the gig-boat Osprey resulting in 4 people injured

Location: Berthing operation at Tranmere Oil Terminal, River Mersey, England.

Accident Investigation Report 1/2001

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons and recommendations made:

alfa-britannia.pdf (1,082.40 kb)


This reports the MAIB’s investigation into the parting of a mooring rope on board the tanker Alfa Britannia during berthing operations at Tranmere oil terminal in the River Mersey, England on 18 November 1999, resulting in injuries to four crewmen.

The accident was caused by a breakdown in communications between the pilot and the ship’s officers in that his intended instruction not to make the breast line fast was not carried out.

Two different test-houses examined the nylon tail and found that dynamic loading had caused it to part. The load imposed on the tail originated from the movement of the ship as it finally came alongside.

Recommendations were made to Shell UK Oil Products limited on producing mooring guidelines, specific to the operational requirements and conditions for Tranmere oil Terminal, and specific mooring plans for each ship.

Published: 31 January 2001

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015