Asterix (tug)

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Name: Asterix
Owner: Østensjø Rederi AS, Haugesund
Operator: Solent Towage Ltd, Southampton
Port of registry: Southampton
Builder: Damen, Gorinchem
Fate: Total loss 30 March 2015
General characteristics
Type: StanTug 1205
Tonnage: 25 GT
Length: 13.08m
Beam: 5.28m
Draught: 1.87m
Installed power: 601bhp
Propulsion: Diesel
Speed: 9.5 knots

Asterix was a small tug/mooring launch which capsized and was a total loss in March 2015 while operating at the marine terminal of Fawley Refinery in Southampton Water, England

Description and service

Asterix was a small tug, used for towing and mooring at ExxonMobil's Fawley oil refinery in Hampshire, England.[1] She was a standard "StanTug 1205" built in 2013 by Damen Group of Gorinchem, Netherlands and one of a pair of tugs they delivered to Fawley in 2014.[2]

The tug measured 25 gross tons and was 13.08 metres in length, 5.28 metres beam and with a service draught of 1.85 metres. Her twin engines totalled 442 kW giving a towing power of 9 tons bollard pull.[3] Asterix was normally operated by a crew of two and was in service with Solent Towage Ltd, a UK subsidiary of Norwegian shipowner Østensjø Rederi AS of Haugesund.[1]

Capsizing and loss

On the evening of 30 March 2015, while assisting the Luxembourg-registered oil tanker Donizetti to sail from Fawley, Asterix was "girted"[nb 1] and capsized, later sinking.[1][5] One crew-member was thrown clear and quickly rescued, despite high winds, but the other was trapped in the partially flooded wheelhouse for more than one hour.[1][6] He was subsequently seen when the tug briefly rolled upright and only then rescued by breaking a wheelhouse window.[1][7] The successful raising of Asterix was announced on 12 April 2015, though she was subsequently declared a total loss.[1][8]

See also


  1. ^ "A towline under tension will exert a heeling moment on the tug if the line is secured around amidships and is leading off towards the beam. As with any vessel which heels over due to an external force, a righting lever is formed as the centre of buoyancy moves towards the centre of the tug’s underwater volume, countering the heeling moment and pushing the tug back upright. However, if the force in the towline is sufficiently powerful, it may overcome the tug’s righting lever and cause it to capsize or girt."[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Report on the investigation into the girting and capsize of the mooring launch Asterix at Fawley Marine Terminal, Southampton, UK 30 March 2015" (PDF). Southampton: Marine Accident Investigation Branch. May 2016. pp. 1–16 (pages 9–24 online). Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "New Asterix and Ibex for Solent Towage". Maritime Journal. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "StanTug 1205 - Executive Summary" (PDF). Gorinchem: Damen Shipyards. November 2015. p. 3. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "The Risk of Tugs Capsizing due to Girting" (PDF). London: West of England P & I Club. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  5. ^ Pearson, Rebecca (31 March 2015). "Two in hospital after tug boat drama in Southampton Water". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Walton, Gregory (31 March 2015). "Weather to calm for Easter Weekend after gales capsize tug". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "Two rescued from sinking Fawley Esso refinery tug boat". BBC. 31 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Esso Oil Refinery Tug Salvage". MMC Diving Services. 12 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 

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