Contraction scour in a firm-clay estuarine riverbed is estimated at an oil-unloading terminal at the Port of Haldia in India, where a scour hole attained a maximum depth greater than 5 m relative to the original bottom. A linear equation for the erosion flux as a function of the excess bed shear stress was semicalibrated in a rotating-cylinder device called SERF (Simulator of Erosion Rate Function) and coupled to a hydrodynamic code to simulate the hole as a clear-water scour process. SERF, whose essential design is based on previous such devices, additionally included a load cell for in situ and rapid measurement of the eroded sediment mass. Based on SERF's performance and the degree of comparison between measured and simulated hole geometry, it appears that this device holds promise as a simple tool for prediction of scour in firm-clay beds. ?? ASCE.