Thursday , December 7 2023

Research/Survey vessel Elsa drifted ashore in Ladder Bay – Updated March 25

Update March 25

The Saba Conservation Foundation and the Public Entity of Saba have responded to the tragic events. Read their reaction here.

The Elsa stranded just south of the Ladder trail. Diesel is flowing from the vessel. A description of the vessel indicates that the fuel capacity of the Elsa is 43,000 liters. It is not known how much fuel was on board when the stranding happened. The fuel is spreading along the whole west coast of Saba. The odor can be smelled from the Ladder trail.

Original post March 23

Thursday morning the Research/Survey vessel Elsa ran ashore in Ladder Bay. Elsa is an 48 m vessel, gross tonnage of 353 t, registered in BermudaThe conditions under which the vessel ran ashore are not yet know. Track information suggests that the vessel spent the night in the dedicated anchorage/mooring area in front of Ladder Bay.

It is the second ship that ran ashore in Ladder Bay within two weeks. Only last Saturday a French sailing yacht had been pulled off the rocks there.

Research vessel Elsa grounded in Ladder Bay, Saba (Photo Willem Timmerman)


GPS track of Elsa until Wednesday night

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  1. Unfortunately, a considerable oil spill extends to Wells Bay. The vessel had 350tons, which seems to be too much for the mooring. Hope that will never happen again. There is another docu photo:

  2. With a vessel like that you don’t go on that moorings there!
    To bad for that oil spill, hope that the PSSA keep safe!

  3. the bowsprit is still at the buoy, – maybe a really huge wave hit the boat at night?

  4. apparently the buoy that was given to the Elsa was not capable to cope with the weight of the boat and snapped of due to over weight. on your second picture you can see the buoy on the left side of the Elsa floating on the surface. Is there significant oil spill? Have they attempted to do some rescue operation? any more pictures?

  5. here my last picture from the morning where we disovered the accident, with still one person on board.

    clearly visible the wooden bowsprit still on the mooring buoy, which seems to be intact. then you see some furniture broken, and the life buoy released.

    the oil spill is several kilometers along the coast, you can even smell it on Sandy Cruz trail. It extends from The Ladder up to the northern end of Wells bay, maybe more.

  6. If the bowsprit is still attached it leads to the question on the type of break. If it pulled out horizontally or snapped by a downward force. If horizontal it’s a failure of boat equipment. If vertical then the question is what was the ratio of mooring line length to depth. Just my two cents.

  7. That is where they were told to moor.The Authorities told them it was capable of well beyond there tonage. As this is second time in weeks i would be looking at integrity of moorings and when they were last serviced.Next time we may not be so lucky!

  8. Not true at all because the maximum allowed is 150 t and the boat was 353 t thats way too much for the moorings.