B7/2004M Ms SUPERFAST VII, grounding off Hanko on 12.11.2004

The Ro-Ro passenger vessel SUPERFAST VII was on way from Rostock to Hanko on 12 November 2004. She had 140 passengers. Her cargo was trailers, trucks and cars. The vessel took a pilot between Russarö and Gustafsvärn at 19:05. The vessel reached the turning area outside the port at 19:14, when the tugboats the Ajax and the Iso-Pukki were made fast on her starboard side.

The master, the Staff Captain, the chief mate, the helmsman and the pilot were on the bridge. The master manoeuvred the vessel on the port wing, the chief mate observed from the starboard wing the distance of the vessel to the buoys on the north side of the fairway. The pilot kept contact with the tugboats. The Staff Captain was on the bridge without any actual task.

The master of the vessel and the pilot were planning to enter the port so that the vessel would be reversed to the port as the wind was from the bow and the tugboats were on the starboard side ready to push the vessel to the quay. At the turning area, the vessel drifted north of the fairway and so the tugboats were asked to push the vessel south while she was reversing. As a result of this measure and, according to the master, because of the wind, the vessel drifted south of the fairway.

The reversing was continued, and the efforts of the master to bring the vessel into the fairway were not successful. As the stern of the vessel was very close to the breakwater, the bow tugboat was asked to move portside. This did not succeed, because the vessel had drifted so close to the breakwater that, due to the shallowness of the water, there was no room for the tugboat.

The vessel grounded at the peak of the Hanko breakwater at 19:24, but she was able to continue her voyage to the quay, to which she was moored a little later.

The damage to the vessel did not result in danger of sinking nor stability problems.

The investigation revealed that the strongest background factor of the accident were the defective instructions of the Safety Management System (SMS) of the company. This resulted in insufficient utilisation of the existing navigation equipment and a lack of bridge co-operation. The instructions did not contain harbour manoeuvring in a storm, which resulted in a defective estimation of the wind effect.

B7/2004M Report (pdf, 1.96 Mt)

Published 13.5.2004