General Cargo Vessel Collisions Due To Dragging of Insufficient Anchor Cable


According to an investigative report published by MAIB, the UK government highlights the problems pertaining to anchor dragging and how does it lead to collisions and what we can do to avoid such incidents.

What happened?

During the morning of 1 March 2018, the UK registered general cargo vessel Celtic Spirit started to drag its anchor in heavy weather on the River Humber, UK. The watchkeeper did not immediately identify this and Celtic Spirit subsequently collided with the research and survey vessel Atlantic Explorer and the general cargo vessel Celtic Warrior, which were at anchor. All three vessels sustained shell plate damage, but there were no injuries and no pollution.

Safety lessons

  • the vessel dragged its anchor because insufficient anchor cable had been deployed for the tidal range and the environmental conditions
  • it was not immediately identified that the vessel was dragging its anchor because the position monitoring interval was inadequate
  • the watchkeeper did not alert Vessel Traffic Services or nearby vessels that the vessel was dragging anchor
  • the vessel was unable to manoeuvre in time to avoid the collisions because its engine was not on immediate readiness


The report highlights the importance of ensuring taking tidal and environmental conditions fully into account when going to anchor and ensuring that the frequency and accuracy of position monitoring is commensurate with the conditions experienced.

In view of the actions already taken, no recommendations have been made.

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Source: Gov.UK


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