Close-quarters situation between ro-ro passenger ferry Pride of Cherbourg and general cargo vessel Briarthorn

Location: Eastern Solent off the south coast of England.

Accident Investigation Report 4/2002

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken and subsequent recommendations:

pride-of-cherbourg.pdf (342.84 kb)


At 2040 UTC on 7 February 2001 the passenger ro-ro ferry Pride of Cherbourg and the cargo ship Briarthorn came within about 80 metres of each other in the vicinity of the Warner buoy.

Safety Issues

  • poor watchkeeping on Briarthorn which resulted in an inaccurate and scanty means used to assess if risk of collision existed
  • Pride of Cherbourg’s master believed he was to keep clear of vessels in the main channel in accordance with his belief in the existence of a local “custom and practice” and that Briarthorn would not alter her course to starboard
  • Pride of Cherbourg was not aware there was no pilot on board Briarthorn


Our report makes recommendations which, if implemented, will reduce the possibility of a recurrence of this incident.

This report was published in February 2002.

Published 23 January 2015