The Swedish Coast Guard (Kustbevakningen) states that thanks to proactive commanders on board a tanker and a bunker boat, a ship collision off Gothenburg was avoided on the 19th November 2023.
A 189-meter-long cargo ship was leaving its anchorage off Gothenburg on Sunday on the 19th November where it came very close to colliding with both a tanker and an adjacent bunker boat.
“When the cargo ship left its anchorage, it made a dangerous turn and was heading straight into the two other ships. The commanders of the other ships, who saw what was happening, managed to make evasive manoeuvres to avoid the collision, and the ship passed by a margin of only a few meters,” says Johanna Wemminger, who works as a preliminary investigation manager at the Swedish Coast Guard.
The Swedish Maritime Administration’s traffic center, VTS, in Gothenburg immediately informed the Swedish Coast Guard, which began a preliminary investigation and drew up a report of suspected negligence in maritime traffic.
A few days later, when the cargo ship called at the port of Oxelösund, the Swedish Coast Guard carried out a search of the vessel and notified the master of suspicion of carelessness in maritime traffic. At the same time, the Swedish Transport Agency’s ship inspector was on board for a Port state control.
After a long interrogation, the master confessed and was fined with 50 daily fines by decision of the prosecutor. The police authority also participated within the framework of the authorities’ joint cooperation.
“The command of the cargo ship put itself in a situation with no room for manoeuvre, it could only continue in the direction of the other ships. Had the three ships collided, it would likely have meant a significant oil spill that could have hit land with extensive damage to both people, animals and nature,” says Johanna Wemminger.
The Swedish Coast Guard mentions that similar incidents are not common in Sweden, but when they do happen, it is often difficult to prosecute the commander for crimes and the cooperation between the authorities was a success factor here.