C2/2008M MS SERENA F, stranding north of Hiittinen on 6.3.2008

SERENA F, a fishing support vessel, sailing under the Russian flag, had since the beginning of the year 2008 been anchored in the Hiittinen region at 59°53,08'N and 22°27,55'E and bought sprat and Baltic herring from Finnish fishermen. SERENA F had packaged and deep-frozen the fish it had bought in her hold.

On Monday 6 March 2008, it was SERENA F's intention to sail to Hanko to replenish her stores. For the transfer, a pilot had been ordered to arrive at 6.30 a.m. Preparations were made for the departure by starting the main engine in advance by order of the chief mate already at 5.40 a.m. When the engine was started, the vessel was anchored with her left anchor, from which six shackles of anchor chain had been cast.

After the main engine started, the pitch of the propeller changed into a position driving the vessel forward (full ahead). When the chief mate noticed this after a few minutes while the vessel was already moving, it was simultaneously discovered that the control devices of the propeller did not function properly. After the eventual stopping of the engine, the vessel, dragging the anchor, still ran, at a speed of approximately six knots, aground near the shore of the Norröarna islands to the north of Långnäs in Rosala. According to the ship's log, SERENA F ran aground on the rocks at 59° 52.8' N and 22° 26.9' E at 5.49 a.m., but according to the VTS recording the time was 5.42.

After a leakage check performed from the inside of the vessel, the main engine was restarted in order to get the vessel off the ground. This time the steering of the main engine and the propeller functioned flawlessly. After fifteen minutes try with the engine astern without result engine was stopped.

At the time of the event, the water level was +60 centimetres. Soon after the stranding, the water level sank significantly and SERENA F stuck more firmly on the rocks. Measured with the echo sounder of the coast guard vessel slightly to the front of the engine room at the side of the vessel, there was approximately one meter less water than required by the draught of the vessel. The measurement was performed at midday by RV 243 when it was mooring at the side of SERENA F. The depth measurements from the vessel gave a corresponding result.

SERENA F was pulled off the ground by the joint pull of the second and third tugboats arrived on the scene on 7 March 2008 at 4.35 p.m. During the pulling off, the vessel received additional bottom contacts and apparently her rudder was damaged. After the pulling off, SERENA F was towed to Naantali, where her fish load was loaded into another vessel.

The reason for the stranding is likely to be the insufficient check of the steering system of the propeller prior to starting the engine. The supervision and watch keeping after the starting have been insufficient, too. The measures refer to a slight panic after the problems occurred and the danger involved in the situation became clear.

The investigators emphasise the significance of care and attentiveness after a long and relatively idle stationary period. Trusting in old memory and routines may, at that time, be dangerous. In a corresponding situation, the investigators recommend that the measures in check lists be performed with emphasised formality and that an adequate manning be kept in key places.

C2/2008M Report (pdf, 2.26 Mt)

Published 6.3.2008