17 Oct 2008
"Rozgwiazda", a bucketdredger, went down on Friday morning on 17/10/08 07:00 local time in the Baltic Sea, eight miles from the coastal town of Kolobrzeg in northern Poland.
A total of five crewmembers drowned or went missing. The dredger was being towed from Gdansk to Swinoujscie. The towing line broke when weather was 6-7 beaufort.
Trade union leaders have accused the owners of sunken Polish bucket dredger Rozgwiazda of being responsible for the accident. Roman Zyromski, spokesperson for the Solidarity union which represents workers at Dredging and Underwater Works (PRCiP), said the company was culpable of various shortcomings, the first of which concerned the tug "Stefan" that had been towing the dredger.
"To begin with "Stefan" should not have been involved in this work because it is too weak (400 horsepower main engine) and not adapted to this kind of action."
But the weather conditions prevailing at the time were the most significant factor, Zyromski added. "Most importantly, from what I know, the weather forecasts in Gdansk were already bad enough to prevent the ship from being put to sea in the first place."
PRCiP denies any wrongdoing. The company's marketing director, Piotr Hinc, denied the allegations regarding the tug. He said: "Only this year the dredger was towed between Gdansk and Swinoujscie a dozen or so times.”
Preliminary comment: typical tug-and-tow operation without proper weather assessment and poor definition of weather envelope. Considering the weather conditions, the tug was indeed very lightly powered.
|Type: Bucket ladder dredger|
|Built by: IHC Holland, Kinderdijk|
|Total installed power:||662||kW|