Flying Phantom

Flying Phantom was a tug built in 1981 for the Clyde Shipping Company and based in Greenock in Scotland. As a consequence of business takeovers and mergers, by 2001 she was owned by Svitzer Marine Ltd of Middlesbrough, though still based on the Clyde.

Flying Phantom at James Watt Dock, December 2006
United Kingdom
Name: Flying Phantom
Port of registry: Glasgow
Builder: Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow
Yard number: 486
Laid down: 3 December 1980
Launched: 2 July 1981
Completed: 11 November 1981
Identification: IMO number: 8011770
Fate: Sunk, 19 December 2007
General characteristics [1][2]
Type: Tug
Tonnage: 347 GRT, later 287 GT
Length: 37.95 m (124 ft 6 in)
Beam: 9.69 m (31 ft 9 in)
Height: 4.55 m (14 ft 11 in)
Draught: 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in)
  • 2 × Ruston 6RKCM 6-cylinder diesel engines, total 2,820 bhp (2,103 kW)
  • Single screw
  • From May 1997, additional Aquamaster UL601 retractable azimuth thruster driven by 600 bhp (447 kW) Cummins KTA19M3 engine
Speed: 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Crew: 4
Notes: 50 tonnes bollard pull (40tbp until 1997)

She sank in the River Clyde at Clydebank on 19 December 2007, with the loss of Stephen Humphreys (captain), Robert Cameron (engineer) and Eric Blackley (deckhand) with only Brian Aitchison surviving. She was one of three tugs assisting the bulk carrier Red Jasmine. On the night of the accident, there was extremely poor visibility, due to heavy fog.

Following the incident the Marine Accident Investigation Branch carried out a full investigation on the accident, and their report was published in September 2008.[1] The MAIB concluded that failings in the safety regime of the harbour authority Clydeport, as well as operational shortcomings by the tug operator, contributed to the capsize of Flying Phantom and the loss of the three crew-members.

Earlier reports that criminal charges had been laid against Clydeport and Svitzer were confirmed on 22 April 2013. [3][4] In October 2013, Svitzer pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws, and was fined £1.7 million.[5][6]

In September 2014 Clydeport was also fined. [7]


  1. "Report on the investigation of the loss of the tug Flying Phantom" (PDF). Marine Accident Investigation Branch, Southampton. September 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  2. "FLYING PHANTOM". Clydebuilt Ships Database. 2012. Archived from the original on 6 November 2004. Retrieved 12 December 2012.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  3. "Charges pressed over tug tragedy". Greenock Telegraph. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  4. "Firms charged over River Clyde Flying Phantom tug deaths". BBC. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  5. "Clyde Tug Boat Sinking: Company To Be Sentenced". The Scotsman. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  6. Sentencing statement by judge
  7. Sentencing statement by judge

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