Collisions at Swansea
18 October 1943
Below are 2 declassified action reports from the USS MacKenzie in connection with the damage that occurred while shifting berths at Swansea, Wales. The ship was involved in a series of minor collisions which put it out of action for 41 days. This was a confusing chain of events.
Note: the report occasionally refers to the location as New South Wales (NSW). This is incorrect as New South Wales is in Australia and this incident occured in Wales, in the United Kingdom.
Quoting from the Navy Department's Division of Naval History, Ships' Histories Section:
On 18 October 1943 after fueling at Queen's Dock, Swansea, in south Wales, she was ordered to shift berths, with the assistance of two tugs.
While passing Scherzer bridge the bow tug's tow line parted and the MACKENZIE's starboard anchor scraped one of the supports of the operating rack on the bridge. As she entered King's Dock she was swung clockwise in order that the bow would pass through the swing bridge first. The ship's engines were used to assist in swinging the bow east, but resulted in the stern swinging to port, parting the stern tug's tow line, and backing the MACKENZIE into a sand sucker.
Upon resuming forward motion she hit the north wall of the Prince of Wales Dock, and while backing down, lightly, hit a tug boat before sternway could be checked.
Resuming forward motion the starboard anchor was dropped, but before headway could be checked, she hit the minesweeper HMS FAIRFAX.
On clearing the FAIRFAX the anchor was heaved in, and the MACKENZIE prepared to head for her berth. However, the swinging stern lightly hit another minesweeper, and the anchor was again dropped and all way checked.
The commanding officer then ordered the ship secured in any berth which appeared available. A line was passed to the north seawall and secured to a bollard astern of the FAIRFAX.
After running over one of the buoys located in the middle of the dock, the ship was warped into a berth on the north side of the Prince of Wales Dock.
Damages resulting from this series of collisions necessitated a 41 day delay for repairs.
18 October 1943 - Extracts From the Log for 18 October 1943 (Collision)
29 October 1943 - Report of Damage occurred while Vessel was Shifting Berths at Swansea, Wales (18 October 1943)
photo courtesy of ‘Mine Warfare Vessels of the Royal Navy – 1908 to Date’ by Maurice Cocker (Airlife, 1993)
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