Kowloon Bridge 1986

51°28′N 09°14′W

The MV Kowloon Bridge was built on the River Tees by Swan Hunter for Bibby Line and originally named English Bridge. In 1977, the vessel was renamed Worcestershire, as the fourth vessel to carry that name in the Bibby Line fleet. In 1979, the vessel was sold to Amroth Investments and renamed Sunshine.

The vessel was renamed a further three times, before the becoming known as Kowloon Bridge. The vessel’s last voyage was between Sept-Isles, Canada headed for the River Clyde with a cargo of iron ore and oil.

On 20 November 1986, she anchored in Bantry Bay, Republic of Ireland after developing deck cracking in one of her frames during her Atlantic crossing. She was forced to leave port after losing her anchor and damaging her steering gear to avoid colliding with an oil tanker also anchored in Bantry Bay. Royal Air Force helicopters rescued the crew and the Kowloon Bridge was effectively abandoned with her engine running astern, heading away from the Irish coast. A tugboat that tried to reach her had to abandon the salvage attempt after she too sustained storm damage. The wind turned her around and she headed back towards the coast, nearly entering Baltimore Bay when her propeller hit the rocks, stalling the engine. Within hours, Kowloon Bridge drifted east and ran aground on a submerged reef near The Stags rocks off West Cork in the Republic of Ireland. The resulting fuel spill spread out over the Irish coastline causing extensive damage to local wildlife, and financial losses for the local fishing fleet. In the spring of 1987, Kowloon Bridge split into three sections and sank.
driven aground in gale-force winds on Stag Rock, near Baltimore, Co. Cork. Her 1200 tons of bunker fuel began to leak, causing a serious pollution problem to bird and marine wildlife and nearby coves and beaches. Despite the joint efforts of two of the world’s top salvage companies, Smit & Wijsmuller, the wrecked Kowloon Bridge could not be refloated and, when she broke her back on the rocks, all salvage attempts were abandoned. She was left to the elements to pound to pieces. The hull and machinery insurance was £8.4m, while the value of the lost ore was £2.7m.

Today the wreck lies around 20M deep in three sections with the bow section remaining largely intact.

  • English Bridge (1973-7)
  • Worcestershire (1977-9)
  • Sunshine 
  • Murcurio 
  • Crystal Transporter 
  • Kowloon Bridge 
  • Bibby Line (1973-9)
  • Amroth Investments 
  • Helinger 
Port of registry:Hong Kong Hong Kong
Builder:Swan Hunter
type:Combination carrier
Tonnage:89,438 tons
Length:294.2 m (965 ft 3 in)
Beam:44.3 m (145 ft 4 in)
Draft:18.44 m (60 ft 6 in)
Ice class:A1
Installed power:B&W 8K98FF
Propulsion:1x propeller
Speed:15.5 knots (17.8 mph)