MAIB reports on Norman Arrow berthing incidents

The U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has issued its report on the investigation of contacts made by the high speed craft Norman Arrow with quays in Portsmouth International Port, Portsmouth U.K. on  March 31, 2010 and with a mooring dolphin in Le Havre, France on August 29, 2010.

The March 31 incident occurred when the U.K. registered high speed catamaran [a 112 m wave-piercer delivered by Incat in 2009] was damaged when it struck fixed fendering in Portsmouth International Port while attempting to move between berths. Five months later, on 29 August, Norman Arrow was again damaged when it struck a mooring dolphin as it approached its berth in Le Havre.

There were no injuries, but after both accidents the vessel had to be taken out of service and repaired in dry dock

The investigation found that the accidents occurred as a result of an inability to manoeuvre the vessel as intended in the strong winds encountered. Contributing factors included:

  • The lack of operational procedures for manoeuvring in port with respect to limiting wind speed and relative direction, and the use of tugs;
  • The vessel’s design restricted the ability of personnel on the bridge to see objects near to the vessel;
  • Poor bridge ergonomics;
  • Ineffective bridge team management and use of equipment; and
  • The Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s difficulty in assessing whether the visibility from Norman Arrow’s maneuvering station met the requirements of the High Speed Craft Code.


MAIB says that the Norman Arrow is one of the largest high speed craft in the world, and these two accidents in relatively quick succession underline the potential difficulty of maneuvering such light-displacement, high-sided craft at slow speed in confined areas and strong winds. The accidents also highlight the need for flag and port states to fully take into account changes in vessel design when determining operating limitations.

After the first accident, recommendations were made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Louis Dreyfus Lines, and Portsmouth International Port, which were aimed at improving the vessel’s safe operation, particularly in port. In view of these recommendations, and the actions identified by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s formal investigation undertaken following Norman Arrow’s accident in Le Havre, no further recommendations are made in this report.

You can access the report HERE

May 19, 2011