Capsize and sinking of mussel dredger Georgie Fisher

Location: Off King’s Lynn, England.

Completed PE Summary: Georgie Fisher

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name:   Georgie Fisher
Owner:   Privately owned
Port of Registry:   King’s Lynn
Flag:   United Kingdom
Type:   Under 15m fishing vessel
Built:   2005
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   13.9 metres
Registered length:   11.7 metres
Beam:   4.89 metres
Propulsion:   Single FP
Date & Time:   26 November 2008, 1415 (LT)
Location of incident:   52 50.5N 000 17.2E
Incident Type:   Capsize
Persons onboard:   3
Injuries/fatalities:   0
Damage/pollution:   None


At 0300 on 26 November 2008, FV Georgie Fisher sailed in company with FV Sunny Morn from the Fisher Fleet, King’s Lynn, for the mussel beds in The Wash. Georgie Fisher dredged for mussels from 0400 until around 0930 when there was insufficient water over the mussel beds to continue, and she was beached to wait for the next tide. Approximately 11 bags of mussels had been gathered, 9 on the lower layer of the hold and 2 on the top layer, equating to approximately 14 tonnes of catch.

At about 1415, Georgie Fisher returned to the mussel beds and resumed dredging. After a few tows, the vessel was heading into shallower water and turning when the starboard dredge came fast. The vessel quickly heeled to starboard, taking water onto the deck. Despite the skipper’s efforts, he was unable to free the dredge or correct the heel; downflooding occurred into the engine room, via the vents, and the vessel capsized to starboard. Sunny Morn rescued the three crew from Georgie Fisher before she sank in shallow water. The vessel was salvaged the following day.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector has written to Georgie Fisher’s owner recommending that the engine room vents be modified to increase the level at which downflooding occurs, and that an inclining test be conducted on the vessel to assess its stability and determine its safe operating limits.

Published: December 2008

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