A UK-flag Panamax bulker, loaded with a full cargo of grain, is steaming down¬river from a US Gulf port on an ebb tide. Due to a navigational error the ship runs aground on soft mud and is unable to refloat without assistance. What action should the maste

The master should: (1) Follow the Emergency Procedures in the Safety Management System (SMS) (which will probably include the Emergency Check List procedure in the Bridge Procedures Guide).

 (2) Take the usual “good seamanship” precautions (signals, sound round, check for pollution, draft readings, etc. ). (3) Assuming there is no ingress of water, hull damage or leakages, inform the river authority and traffic control as soon as possible and make a “situation report” in compliance with local regulations. (4) Inform the owners of: the exact position of the ship; the part of vessel aground; conditions of weather, wind, wave height, swell, and area forecast; to what extent the vessel is aground (in terms of displacement tonnes), and degree of stresses on hull and machinery; details of any visible damage, including leakages from tanks; whether the vessel’s main engine can be used; the state of tide when the vessel grounded; the quantity and disposition of cargo on board; an assessment of the possibilities of refloating by trimming prior to the next high water; and details of any salvage craft or tugs in the vicinity. (5) Report the grounding to the US Coast Guard in accordance with The Merchant Shipping (Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Reporting Requirements) Regulations 2004. (6) As soon as practicable, report to the MAIB (by the quickest means available) in compliance with The Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations. (See also questions on Reporting of Accidents and Incidents in this section. )


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