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Health and safety

MAIB releases report on dredger Shearwater following barge collisions

10 September 2021

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has released a report on the immobilisation and flooding of the dredger Shearwater following repeated collisions with unmanned barge Agem One.

On 9 April 2020 the Shearwater was immobilised near Kinlochbervie, Scotland, after its propeller shafts were fouled by its own towline, which was being used to tow the Agem One. Soon after, Shearwater was damaged and holed, resulting in flooding after repeated collisions with Agem One. Shearwater was stabilised after the intervention of a lifeboat, a workboat and emergency towing vessel.

The MAIB reports the following safety issues:

  • Shearwater was not a suitable vessel to conduct a lengthy coastal tow
  • there was insufficient planning or safety procedures for the voyage
  • Shearwater's crew did not have the necessary competence for the towing voyage and there was no tow master
  • safety certification by the flag state did not provide sufficient assurance for safe operation of the vessel

The MAIB recommended that the Shearwater's owner assess all hazards and provide safe systems of work to ensure safe manning and reduce future risks. It also recommended that the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency ensures that certification of vessels includes the application of all appropriate regulatory conditions relevant to the vessel's intended function and area of operations.