Deliberate grounding on Bramble Bank
14,000 teu containership APL Vanda was nearing the end of its leg from Le Havre to Southampton when it suffered loss of propulsion in the central Solent. A decision was made by the pilot and crew to ground the vessel on Bramble Bank, an arrow-head shaped sandbank in the central Solent. The grounding was successfully executed and the vessel pulled free of the sandbank by eight co-ordinated tugs a few hours later. Journalists from online local news website OnTheWight.com used MarineTraffic to live-report on the grounding and tug operation. Click on this link to see the live reporting stream. Below is a screenshot from the stream showing close-ups of APL Vanda. “MarineTraffic was an invaluable tool in our Live reporting of APL Vanda running aground. Not only were we able to easily confirm the story tip we’d been given with MarineTraffic, but screen shots of APL Vanda’s movement helped us convey the progress of its re-float.”
Both commercial and leisure vessels regularly run aground on Bramble Bank, usually accidentally. In the case of APL Vanda and ro-ro Hoegh Osaka (separate incident in January 2015) pilots onboard the vessels in conjunction with the ships’ crews decided to run aground deliberately to avoid more complex situations. APL Vanda having lost propulsion could have hit another vessel or grounded on rocks and Hoegh Osaka which was listing considerably, could have capsized. To stay informed on Bramble Bank groundings, MarineTraffic users can select the nautical charts option on the live-map and create a Custom Area around the sandbank. When a vessel crosses the Custom Area boundary line, users will receive an alert.
In the majority of cases the vessel aground triggering the alert will be a small sailing vessel whose skipper is too busy talking to concentrate on his position relative to the Bank. Plenty of small motor boats may also cross your Custom Area boundary line on the day of the September Equinox, the only time each year when the bank is exposed. A local sailing club organises a cricket match that is played on the bank – a very watery affair!