Collision between container feeder vessel Herm and triple-rig trawler Nantewas

Location: 10nm west south west of Lizard Point, Cornwall, England.

Completed PE Summary: Herm/Nantewas

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Herm
Manager Unitas GmbH, Germany
Ship Owner Intermare Shipping Ltd
Port of Registry St John’s
Flag Antigua & Barbuda
Classification Society Germanischer Lloyd
Type Container feeder vessel (fully cellular)
Built 2004
Construction Steel
Length Overall 134.65m
Gross Tonnage 7660
Date/Time 18/09/2008, 0851 (UTC)
Location of Incident 10nm WSW off Lizard Point
Incident Type Collision
Persons Onboard 12 crew
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Minor damage to hull on starboard side
Fishing Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Nantewas (PW 12)
Ship Owner Privately owned
Port of Registry Padstow
Flag UK
Type Triple-rig trawler
Built 1987
Construction Steel
Length Overall 9.93m
Gross Tonnage 9.68
Date/Time 18/09/2008, 0851 (UTC)
Location of Incident 10nm WSW off Lizard Point
Incident Type Collision
Persons Onboard 12 crew
Injuries/Fatalities 1 minor injury
Damage/Pollution Material damage to the starboard hull with small fracture in way of the diesel tank; distortion to the topsides structure, main deck aft, and engine/fuel system; water damage to majority of electrical distribution system


At 0851 UTC on 18 September 2008, the container ship Herm collided with the fishing vessel Nantewas in light winds and good visibility off Lizard Point, in UK territorial waters.

Herm was east bound on passage from Dublin to Rotterdam. Nantewas was slowly heading SSW, while her two crew on deck mending one of the trawl nets; the other two nets were still in the water and thus hampering the vessel. Although both vessels observed the other on radar between 10 and 15 minutes before the collision, the crew of neither vessel continued to monitor the situation. Herm failed to alter course in compliance with the COLREGs, and Nantewas did not maintain a lookout and was therefore unaware of Herm’s approach, on a collision course. Nantewas was immediately disabled following the collision, and issued a “Mayday”, which was responded to by several vessels in the area. Herm continued on passage for around 8 minutes, but returned to the scene to offer assistance only after becoming aware of her involvement in the collision.

One of the crew of Nantewas suffered a minor injury; the vessel sustained significant material damage and had to be towed into port. Herm sustained only minor damage, and no injuries to her crew; there was no pollution.

Action taken

Unitas GmbH, the managers of Herm, have issued a company circular requiring the use of the bridge watch alarm, both night and day, the use of additional lookouts, the observance of line of sight when carrying deck cargo, and that immediate assistance is offered when life at sea may be in danger.

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to:

  • The managers of Herm recommending that they: review both the operation of their vessels and their Safety Management Systems, and ensure their vessels carry appropriate information to allow compliance with the statutory requirements for forward visibility from the wheelhouse.

  • The Antigua & Barbuda Department of Marine Services & Merchant Shipping, regarding the issues identified for Herm, and requesting, in particular, that they ensure that SMSs are properly checked by the appointed classification societies.

  • The owner of Nantewas, regarding the dangers of assuming that merchant vessels will always alter course while a fishing vessel is displaying its fishing signal and is hampered by its trawl gear.

Published: January 2009

Published 23 January 2015