MAIB Report on Serious Marine Casualty – Passenger Ferry Grounding


By WATCHIT editorial June 6, 2024

ยฉ Crown copyright, 2024ย 

ย On July 5th, 2022, the roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry Alfred grounded on the east coast of Swona Island in the Pentland Firth, Scotland. The impact injured 41 passengers and crew members and damaged the vessel and vehicles on board. “Alfred grounded because the master experienced a loss of awareness while helming the vessel close inshore, almost certainly as a result of falling asleep,” the official accident report stated.ย 


Image courtesy of the RNLIย ย 

ย Master Fell Asleep at the Helmย 

Voyage data recordings revealed that about 90 seconds before grounding, the master allowed Alfred’s heading to swing towards the coast unchecked. He only became aware of the dangerous situation around 70 seconds later when he gave “a startled shout” and attempted to turn the vessel away from the rocks.ย 

ย Although Alfred started to turn away from the island when the master applied 60ยฐ of starboard rudder, his actions were too late and the vessel’s port bow struck the rocky coast at a speed of about 13 knots,” the report described.ย 

Inadequate Passage Planningย 

Investigators identified critical safety lapses that contributed to the incident. Alfred’s passage plan was found to be inadequate, lacking essential details like cross-track distances, navigational hazards, and no-go areas.ย 

ย Remarkably, “neither the Pentland Ferries’ annual audits nor the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s surveys had detected this safety issue,” despite the inadequate plan being in place since 2019 when the vessel entered service.ย 

Furthermore, the vessel’s primary navigation system, the Electronic Chart Display Information System (ECDIS), was not being used effectively to support safe navigation and provide warnings about potential dangers.ย 

This systemic failure to detect and address such critical safety lapses is simply unacceptable in an industry where lives are at stake,” the report admonished.ย 

Emergency Response Failuresย ย 

Once grounded, Alfred’s emergency response did not follow the safety video shown to passengers before departure. Investigators found this was “because the vessel’s procedures and weekly drills had not adequately prepared the crew for the emergency“.ย 

ย The ferry operator’s emergency team ashore also failed to prompt the master to create a list of those on board, hindering effective emergency management.ย 

Tech that Saves Livesย 

ย This tragedy highlights the critical need for advanced safety technologies…to protect lives and prevent costly accidents,” the report concluded, citing systems like WATCHIT’s patented Smart Collision Prevention System that could have detected the master’s lapse and alerted him in time.ย 

ย “This tragic grounding of the ferry Alfred serves as a sobering reminder of the critical need for advanced maritime safety technologies,”ย stated Tal Duvdevany, WATCHIT CEO & Co-Founder. “WATCHIT is committed to partnering with the maritime industry to enhance safety standards, protect lives, and safeguard our waters from preventable accidents. Investing in cutting-edge solutions like our system is an investment in responsible stewardship of the seas.ย 

In Conclusionย 

Both the ferry company and regulators have taken corrective actions. However, the report makes clear the maritime industry must prioritize safety management, effective use of modern digitized systems, comprehensive crew training, and proper oversight to prevent such lapses from occurring again.ย 

Media Contact:
Name: Limor Reznik
Title: Chief Marketing Officer
Email: limor@watchit.aiยย 





Founded by former navy commanders who identified a critical need, WATCHIT has developed a “Smart Prevention System“.

The system combines advanced algorithms with the valuable experience of seasoned captains.ย ย 

WATCHIT’s innovative prevention system eliminates human error by seamlessly integrating with the boat’s existing sensors and providing a timely warning for the main concerns while at sea – running aground, obstacle collision and navigating congested water.ย 

WATCHIT’s vision is to set a new standard in recreational boating safety, and our mission is to prevent accidents, so that loss of lives and irreparable damage become things of the past.ย 

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