Government launches safety investigation following Dover cargo ship crash
A government safety investigation has been launched after a 200m cargo ship collided with a barge off the coast of Dover at the weekend. Lifeboat crews had to battle dreadful sea conditions on Sunday to rescue 11 of the 23 people on board the Saga Sky after it hit the anchored Stema Barge II close to the port of Dover. And the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), which works with the Department for Transport to investigate marine accidents involving UK vessels, is now looking into what happened.
It says the UK Coastguard evacuated all non-essential crew, there were no injuries and despite significant hull damage, both vessels remained afloat. Credit: James Hendrick Photography The video by James Hendrick shows the heavy swells and fierce winds as an RNLI helicopter and lifeboat approached the stricken vessel
Read more: Watch Dover lifeboat rescue crew members of the Saga Sky in this video Saga Sky had discharged a cargo of wood pulp in Brake, Germany and was sailing in ballast to Uruguay.
And a statement from MAIB said: “The vessel entered the Dover Strait traffic separation scheme early on the morning of 20 November.
“As the weather rapidly deteriorated, with wind speeds in excess of 80 knots, the vessel’s speed dropped and it began to pitch heavily. “The propeller came out of the water causing the engine to overspeed and shut down. “Saga Sky’s engine was restarted and the vessel was manoeuvred out of the traffic lane.
However, it then began to drift rapidly towards shallow water. “Both anchors were deployed but this failed to arrest the drift. Saga Sky impacted with Stema Barge II at about 8.40am and the collision resulted in significant damage to both vessels.
“When the weather abated and, following a stability assessment and redistribution of ballast, Saga Sky was able to proceed safely to Dunkirk for assessment.
“Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the police or by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.”
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