Grounding of a bulk carrier

Casualty Circular No. 4 of 2004


F.No.11- NT(37)/2001                                                             Dated 30th August 2004


Sub: Grounding of a Bulk Carrier



1.1 A bulk carrier of about 28,700GRT under Pilotage, sailed from the port of Portland, Australia, to a suitable anchoring area for the purpose to cleaning of holds. The vessels was in ballast and was drawing 6.5 mtrs.

1.2 After a short maneuvering the vessel was anchored using seven shackles of port anchor in an area approximately two nautical miles off the breakwater. The depth was ten fathoms. The nature of seabed was porous limestone. Guide to port entry recommended, not to anchor in the area in storms and gale.

1.3 During the next day, wind increased to Beaufort force Sly 5/6. The vessel was observed to be 0.37 nautical miles from original position. No action was taken to heave up the anchor.

1.4 A few hours later, wind force had increased to 7/8 with heavy swell. At this stage, the duty officer informed the master that the vessel was dragging anchor. Immediately anchor station were called and heaving of anchor was commenced. Attempts were made to contact port control, but in vain. While the anchor was being heaved, the vessel quickly swung to port and faced the north-eastern shore. Engines were ordered full astern with maximum power. By this time the port anchor was aweigh and the wind caught the vessel on her port quarter, swinging the vessel further to port. The Sly weather set / drifted her side ways towards the shallows. The echo sounder repeater showed the depth of water under the keel decreasing very rapidly. Soon, the wake ceased to move at or about midships. There was no effect of main engines running at full astern. Thereafter, echo sounder repeater showed erratic soundings. The vessel had run aground.





2.1 The vessel was anchored on a lee shore in an area which was not recommended for anchoring during strong easterly and south easterly weather. This warning given in the sailing directed was omitted.

2.2 A small-scale chart in use might have caused the bridge watch-keepers to under estimate the significance of distance that the anchor had initially dragged.

2.3 Priority was given to the task of preparation of holds for the next cargo rather than to the safety of ship.

2.3.1 Inadequate flow of to & fro information between watch-keepers and master of the vessel.

2.4 No record of anchor position, anchor bearings, soundings etc available in the bridge record book.

2.5 Confirmation of anchor position was not obtained by visual bearings.


3.1 Passage plan is necessary for arriving at and selecting anchoring position. This will include checking charts, sailing directions, Guide to Port Entry, port information, list of lights, tide tables etc.

3.2 Excessive reliance on electronic aids to navigation may lead to incorrect conclusions.

3.3 Vessel�s position must be checked by visual bearings whenever available.

3.4 Proper lookout must be maintained while vessel is at anchor.

3.5 Necessary action has to be taken whenever weather warnings are received for safety of the ship and protection of environment.

3.6 Ship Masters must consider heaving anchor and steaming out of narrow waters when warnings of deteorating weather conditions are received.

3.7 Navigational watch-keeping must be given preference over commercial consideration.

4. This issues with the approval of the Nautical Adviser to the Govt. of India.

Nautical Surveyor -cum- Dy. Director General of Shipping [Tech]


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