MV Carrier – a ship on the rocks

Situated on the hillside high above the A55 Expressway at Llanddulas, to the north of Colwyn Bay in North Wales, is the limestone-producing Raynes Quarry. Stone from the quarry is transported by conveyor belts crossing above the nearby railway line and under the A55 to Raynes Jetty where it’s loaded into coastal freighters for taking to other parts of the British Isles.
On the evening of Tuesday April 3rd 2012 the Bahamas registered 269ft long cargo ship MV Carrier, having collected about 1,700 tons of limestone from the quarry, was hit by force-9 winds and five-metre swells and ran aground on the rocks and concrete sea defences near the jetty, breaching its hull in three places. In an operation involving two helicopters and two lifeboats launched into a full gale and rough seas all seven uninjured Polish crew were rescued, with police closing a section of the A55 for public safety and to allow the helicopters to land and take off.
A few days later it was the Easter weekend and while camping at a lovely site less than three miles north of Llanddulas I drove down the A55 on a day out from the site. I could see the tops of the ship’s masts as I went past its location but that’s all I could see so I decided that on the way back I would try to find it and get some photos. It wasn’t an easy task as I had to park up and walk quite a distance along the coastal cycle path, also a 100-metre exclusion zone had been placed round the ship’s immediate area and police and officials were everywhere, but by walking up to the top of a steep grassy outcrop and down the far side I managed to bypass the barriers and the blue-and-white ‘Police Crime Scene’ tape and get to a spot where I had a good view of the ship.
After an inspection of the ship and a structural assessment revealed severe damage the German shipping company who owned and managed it declared it ‘a constructive total loss’. Salvage crews were called in to remove 24,000 litres of fuel, work which had already started when I shot my photos, then the Carrier was to be cut up on site into manageable sections which would be taken by road to a designated scrap yard.
Manorafon - April '12 028 - CopyManorafon - April '12 025 - CopyManorafon - April '12 026 - CopyManorafon - April '12 027 - Copy
Keeping off the A55 I headed back to the camp site along a road which took me past Raynes Quarry on the hillside and on the spur of the moment I decided to try and see the Carrier from up above. Unfortunately the roadside wall was too high for me to see over but a short walk through a nearby small housing estate led me to a spot on the hillside almost directly above the ship. My view was partially obscured by the branches of various shrubs and bushes but I was still able to take a reasonable photo. 
Manorafon - April '12 029 - Copy
The fuel removal operation was completed on April 9th and demolition of the ship started immediately afterwards with the work expected to take about six weeks depending on various safety and weather conditions. Unfortunately I was unable to revisit the area for any more photo opportunities so I’ve pinched a couple of superb shots of the Carrier during demolition from another blog I read.
Twelve months after the ship’s grounding a critical report by the Marine Accident Investigation Board raised questions about the experience and guidance of the quarry’s jetty operators, adding that staff allowed the Carrier to continue loading in spite of the bad weather conditions. The ship’s owners also criticised the quarry operators for not giving the crew appropriate advice, and following the report the company no longer sends ships to Raynes Jetty.


12 thoughts on “MV Carrier – a ship on the rocks

  1. Now I do remember this incident and the A55 being closed. Fantastic photos of yours Eunice which I’ll show to my hubby when he gets up. I think it was that quarry where hubby’s late father lost his leg in a blast many, many years ago, again I’ll have to check with him.


  2. I knew you would remember this one Eileen. It would be interesting to know if it was that quarry where your hubby’s father lost his leg. That weekend was the first time I camped at Manorafon, I was with a group at the time so it wasn’t my choice of site but I was impressed enough to want to go back, which I have done many times since. Incidentally, while writing this I came across details of the old ship buried in the sand at Rhyl harbour – I think I have it on a photo somewhere so I might write about that sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I took a photo of the old ship wreck the other day while down at the harbour but didn’t put it on that blog post. The water was very low but the photo isn’t that good. I’m currently writing a blog post and I’ll attach the photo and link to your blog post, obviously I’m not going out to take many photos at the present time what with chemo and covid. I’ve asked hubby if that is the quarry where his Dad had his accident and he’s not sure but most probably it was.


    1. Maybe it was a good thing that the ship was near to the jetty and just got pushed onto the rocks, it may have been a different story if it had been out at sea. I’ve just read about the helicopter crash enquiry, I was thinking the crash was fairly recent but it was seven years ago – I wonder why it’s taken so long for the enquiry to happen? The survivors of the crash were certainly very very lucky indeed.


  3. A cautionary tale along the lines of ” for the want of a nail the shoe was lost”… I admire your tenacity in acquiring your shots. The tractor certainly gives the scale of the vessel. Interesting post, thank you.


  4. Glad you found the post interesting Cathy. I’ve previously been known to climb trees or hang off railings over a fast flowing river to get the shots I wanted so I wasn’t letting barriers and police tape stop me from getting these 🙂 The tractor would have been a good size for a modern one so it certainly does show the size of the ship in perspective.


  5. Oh so interesting & it is amazing that if we keep our eyes open, how many stories there are about our own areas & surrounds. I’m always fascinated by shipwrecks, derelict buildings & wildlife/fauna to find life boring & nearly always have my camera handy. I’ve had access to some sort of camera since I was 10, so go out of my way too occasionally to capture something worthwhile. It really is a rocky shoreline there. Thanks again, take care & hugs.


  6. Those concrete sea defences are really needed along that stretch of coast as the road runs so close to the shore line. I was given my first camera when I was 10, an old black-and-white box camera of my dad’s, then got my first colour camera for my birthday when I was 12. I didn’t get into digital photography until 2003 and have upgraded my cameras every few years since then – I love digital and wouldn’t go back to a film camera now.


  7. Thank you. I would have liked to get some shots from the other side of the ship but due to the exclusion zone and without a digital SLR with a super-duper zoom lens it would have been very difficult, so these few shots are the only ones I got.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s