Glasgow & West Scotland

Cruise liner grounding at Tobermory Bay due to 'poor practice'

MV Hamburg Image copyright MAIB
Image caption Following the grounding, the Hamburg was taken out of service for three months for repairs

An investigation into the grounding of a cruise liner off the Isle of Mull has blamed "poor navigational practices" by the captain and his bridge crew.

The MV Hamburg hit rocks and suffered a short power blackout while attempting to enter Tobermory Bay on 11 May 2015.

No-one was hurt but the ship needed three months in dock for repairs.

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report blamed poor planning "combined with poor bridge team management and navigational practices".

The Bahamas-registered liner, owned by Conti Group and then operated by V.Ships, called in to Tobermory while en-route from Dublin to Hamburg.

Propeller stuck

The Hamburg, which had 297 passengers and 164 crew on board, could not immediately enter the bay as there were already two cruise liners there.

When the ship approached, the port side grazed across charted rocky shoals, and the propeller was also struck.

The port engine could no longer be used and the ship struggled into Tobermory Bay.

After an internal inspection the ship was instructed by its owners to proceed to Belfast, where a fuller inspection revealed the extent of the damage.

Image caption The accident happened as the ship was entering Tobermory Bay

The vessel was then withdrawn from service for three months.

In June last year, the ship's captain, Joao Manuel Fernandes Simoes, admitted failing to properly plan the Hamburg's passage into the bay, and to report the incident.

At Belfast Magistrates Court, he was fined a total of £800.

The MAIB report into the incident, published on Thursday, concluded: "The investigation found that, having been unable to enter Tobermory Bay on arrival, the passage plan was not re-evaluated or amended.

"Combined with poor bridge team management and navigational practices, this resulted in the vessel running into danger and grounding.

"Despite the loud noise and vibration resulting from the grounding, the bridge team did not initiate the post-grounding checklist, no musters were held and neither the vessel's managers nor any shore authorities were notified of the accident."

Anchor dragged

The MAIB report continued: "Upon arrival at Tobermory Bay, the master made an ill-considered and poorly executed attempt at anchoring just within the bay's entrance instead of the planned position in the south of the bay.

"This had to be aborted to avoid a second grounding when Hamburg dragged its anchor.

"The passenger vessel was then taken back out to the open sea with unknown damage to its structure, before diverting to Belfast where a dive survey revealed the extent of the damage. The vessel was withdrawn from service for three months for repairs."

The MAIB noted that following the court case and fine, all parties to the incident had taken appropriate action, and it did not need to make any recommendations.

Related Topics

More on this story