Switch to ultra-low sulphur fuel contributed to Pride of Kent grounding, MAIB report states

Image: Reuters/Pascal Rossignol
Image: Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

A report recently released by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) states that the use of ultra-low sulphur fuel oil (ULSFO) was a contributory factor in the grounding of a P&O Ferries Ro-Pax vessel in Calais, France, on December 10, 2017.

The MAIB concluded that a switch to ULSFO resulted in fuel pump issues on board the UK-registered Pride of Kent, which in turn led to the occasional tripping of one of the vessel’s bow thrusters and reductions in both engine speed and shaft speed.

The tripping of one of the bow thrusters caused the crew to lose control of the vessel while sailing towards the harbour entrance at Calais shortly after leaving port.

Pride of Kent then ran aground, its starboard propeller and tail-shaft damaged after striking a nearby jetty.

No injuries and pollution were reported though the vessel required drydocking for the necessary repairs to be carried out.

The MAIB has recommended no corrective actions after P&O Ferries gave its assurance that it will revert to the use of marine gas oil (MGO) on board Pride of Kent pending assessment of the problems associated with ULSFO.


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