The incident

On 27 November 2016, the Maltese registered cargo vessel 'Sider Capri' and the Italian flagged ro-ro vessel 'Grande Anversa' collided in the Çanakkale Strait’s Traffic Separation Scheme. At the time, Sider Capri was on a passage from Constanta, Romania to Larnaca, Cyprus. The chief mate was alone on the bridge of Sider Capri and was also at the helm.

Grande Anversa was on an Easterly course in the in-bound traffic lane, bound for Autoport, Turkey. The master had the con, the second mate was officer of the watch and an able seaman was at the helm. Both Sider Capri and Grande Anversa sustained structural damages above the waterline but no injuries and no pollution were reported. 

Probable cause

The safety investigation found that the cause of the accident was a close quarter situation which developed to a point that a collision became inevitable.

Safety issues

  1. Ten minutes before the collision, the only look-out on the bridge of Sider Capri was the OOW, who was also serving as the helmsman;
  2. The OOW was confined at the helm and unable to observe and interpret data from the radar, AIS, plot position and the chart and act on it;
  3. The helm console position and lay out of the navigational equipment restricted his view of the horizon;
  4. The OOW’s awareness of the situation was inaccurate and he neither noticed Grande Anversa visually nor by radar. Consequently, he lost both position and direction in the TSS;
  5. Courses taken by the master of Grande Anversa to embark the pilot showed substantial deviations from the authorised embarkation position;
  6. The starboard manoeuvre by Sider Capri in the outbound traffic lane was not clear to the master of Grande Anversa and a number of assumptions were made on the basis of his observations and understanding of the situation;
  7. The complexity being negotiated by the parties involved led to a situation where the risk of collision was not anticipated by the master on Grande Anversa, when he directed Sider Capri to pass on his starboard side;
  8. During the course of events, the VTS did not use message markers when communicating with either vessel.
  9. The boarding of the pilot was not in the area defined in the Maritime Traffic Regulations for the Turkish Straits;
  10. The fact that Act’s approach to cross the TSS was allowed by VTSO, may have influenced the master of Grande Anversa that Sider Capri planned to take the same route.


In view of the conclusions reached and taking into consideration the safety actions taken during the course of the safety investigation, MSIU provided the following advice.

Polskie Linie Oceaniczne SA is recommended to:

  • Emphasis the importance of bridge resources management, taking into account the vessel’s trading pattern, navigational constraints and complexities;
  • Analyse situations encountered by crew members where the additional look-out leaves the bridge during hours of darkness in congested waters and narrow channels, and address the matter in the safety management system;

Grimaldi Group Spa is recommended to:

  • Disseminate this safety investigation report on board its fleet and ensure that it is discussed during on board safety management meetings;

The Turkish Straits Vessel Traffic Service is recommended to:

  • Consider the bridge teams’ unfamiliarity with navigational procedures in the Turkish Straits, ensure pilots embark at boarding positions defined in the Maritime Traffic Regulations for the Turkish Straits, or in areas temporarily changed by the Administration due to navigational safety or traffic density;
  • Ensure that VTSO communicate important messages with message markers and use SMCP, where practicable;
  • Advice vessels in breach of the TSS to comply with Rule 10 of COLREGs.

Further details may be found in the following report: