A 5,000-ton cargo ship crashed into a Scottish island while the officer on watch was ‘snoring loudly’ after a night of drinking, report finds

A 5,000-ton cargo ship crashed into a Scottish island while the officer on watch was ‘snoring loudly’ after a night of drinking, report finds

  • A cargo ship crew member fell asleep on watch as the vessel ran aground in 2021, a new report found.
  • Members of the ship’s crew had been drinking onboard prior to the incident, per the report.
  • An alarm sounded 15 times as the crew member on watch was recorded snoring, per the report. 

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A cargo ship ran aground the west coast of Scotland in 2021 after the officer on watch fell asleep following a night of drinking with his fellow crew members, a recent report found.

The BBC Marmara, a 115-meter-long cargo ship owned by a German firm and flying under a Portuguese flag, was traveling from Ireland to Scotland on July 25, 2021, when it crashed into the island of Eilean Trodday, according to a new investigation from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

The 5,344-ton ship was eventually refloated following the accident, but sustained “significant damage” to the forward part of its hull, the report found. The vessel, which was carrying concrete beams on board, was forced to divert to Poland for repairs.

The recently published investigation criticized the ship’s “lack of responsibility at every level of management on board” and said the ship’s leadership had allowed alcohol abuse to be normalized.

According to the report, a crew member learned of a death in his family the day after the BBC Marmara left port in July 2021. He subsequently invited three other crew members back to his cabin for an “informal wake,” including the second officer, a 37-year-old Ukrainian national.

The crew members drank beer and Jägermeister in the man’s cabin for about three hours, the report found. The second officer then left to take over the watch.

Shortly after he took his position, two of his fellow partying crew members came to join him on the vessel’s bridge, bringing more beer that had been given to them by the ship’s master, the investigation found.

The three crew members talked and played music for about an hour before two of them departed, leaving the second officer alone around 1 a.m., according to the probe.

About an hour later, the ship missed a planned course alteration, triggering an alarm that sounded 15 times before the route was effectively changed, the report found.

Meanwhile, the sound of the second officer’s “loud snoring” was picked up on the voyage data recorder.

Around 3:30 a.m., the vessel’s alert went off again after having detected a coming collision with the Scottish island, the report found.

Soon after, the ship hit land at a speed of 11.2 knots.

Following the incident, the ship’s owners and managers have taken action to improve the company’s safety management procedures, especially in relation to the use of alcohol on board, the investigation said.

Briese Schiffahrt, the German firm that owns the vessel, did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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