VIDEO: Second cargo ship grounds in UK port

cargo ship stuck on sand as it grounds at Port of Silloth. Harbour entrance is enticingly close in background

For the second time this year a ship has grounded at the mouth of Port of Silloth. The vessel, 89.88m cargo ship Bremen, under the flag of Cyprus, left Klaipeda in Lithuania on 2 May 2024. The incident occurred at 12:10 am on 8 May.

Bremen, owned by the Baltic Shipping Company, is the second major ship to run aground at Silloth in the past three months after the Zapadnyy, a cargo ship, grounded in February this year.

An ABP Spokesperson says: “We can confirm that there was an incident involving the grounding of a vessel at the Port of Silloth in the early hours of May 8.

“The situation has been managed safely and the vessel has been re-floated and is now berthed within the port.”

This is by no means an unusual occurrence. According to the BBC, Zapadnyy ran aground in Feb 2024, and also in 2016.

Latterly Zapadny, the 77 metre tanker which carries molasses, ran aground on Silloth’s sand as it made its way from Bremen, in Germany. It had approached the harbour at around 12:00 GMT and was refloated on the high tide, shortly before midnight. Nobody was injured in the incident.

“A couple of incidents a few months apart would surely raise the question that it’s about time the entrance was dredged again to allow safe passage,” suggests one online commentator. “Looking at the photos the amount of sand and silt built up in the first dock amounts to negligence.”

The Port of Silloth is located in Cumbria close to Carlisle and has a long history in supplying the nearby Carr’s Flour Mill. Associated British Ports says the port (pictured below) has pedigree in handling a wider variety of cargoes, from supporting onshore wind projects and supplying local farming communities, to the specialist handling of molasses. It’s even got a 6,000 tonnes storage and distribution facility for prime molasses.

Aerial view of Port of Silloth - tanker enters harbour - but sand can be seen where cargo ship grounded recently

Just a few miles south of the port of Silloth where the ship grounded, are some of the finest sand dunes in the Solway coast area … at Mawbray Banks.

According to Solway Coast, the dunes are unique habitats and home to rare animals like the natterjack toad. The dune grasslands merge into an area of dune heath, which is now very rare in Cumbria. The website says one of the area’s best kept secrets is a submerged forest dating back 8000 years. It’s thought to be pine or oak, and has been hidden off the coast by the sea although is sometimes visible if the tide is forgiving.

“With the threat of fines for daring to take shells from the beach or sand I doubt the relevant people in authority will have the gumption to do anything about another run aground. They don’t mention the dredging of seas, raping of seas for fish etc, just the seashells,” says another online commentator.

Main image courtesy of Cumbrian Bod via YouTube.

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