Drunk sailor 'recorded snoring' as ship ran aground off Scottish coast

The incident, which involved the BBC Marmara’s hull becoming damaged, took place in July 2021.

Drunk sailor ‘recorded snoring’ as BBC Marmara ship ran aground off Scottish coast MAIB

A cargo vessel ran aground off the west coast of Scotland in July 2021 after a watchman indulged in a drinking session during an “impromptu wake” fell asleep on duty.

The incident, which involved the BBC Marmara’s hull becoming damaged, took place in July 2021.

The vessel’s second officer, who was responsible for the watch duty, was found “loudly snoring” on the bridge before the collision. 

An investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) criticised the ship’s “lack of management on every level.”

The German-owned ship, operated by Briese Schiffahrt, was en route from Foynes in Ireland to Scrabster when it struck the island of Eilean Trodday. 

An investigation into the incident discovered that the 37-year-old Ukrainian officer had learned of a crewmate’s family member’s death earlier that day, leading to a drinking session with colleagues.

The officer, along with an able seaman and a cadet, consumed beer and Jagermeister between 8.30pm and 11:30pm on July 24 before taking over the watch.

After midnight, the ship’s master provided them with three more cans of beer. 

The three were said to have had a “lively conversation” and were “joking around” before the other two left the officer alone by 1am that morning.

The planned course alteration was missed an hour later, and snoring was detected on the voyage data recorder.

Despite 15 alarms sounding before the route change, the vessel collided with the island at 3.30am. 

The lookout meant to be on duty was later discovered not to have arrived for work.

The MAIB found that the officer, who was “dealing with personal stress due to marital and financial issues”, was likely “significantly influenced by the effects of the alcohol”.

The report also highlighted a poor management culture allowing alcohol abuse.

The exact alcohol consumption of the officer remains unknown. 

The MAIB also noted distractions for the vessel traffic management operator at Stornoway, who lacked training, and a missing navigation system. 

Although the ship was refloated, subsequent inspection revealed damage to the bow thruster space and forepeak tanks.

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