Collision between container vessels Lykes Voyager and Washington Senator

Location: The Taiwan Strait

Accident Investigation Report 4/2006

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

Lykes Voyager.pdf (392.18 kb)

Annexes (1,513.34 kb)


At 0938 (UTC+8) on 8 April 2005, the German registered container ship Washington Senator, which was on passage from Shanghai to Hong Kong at a speed of 17 knots, and the UK registered container ship Lykes Voyager, which was on passage from Yantian to Vancouver at a speed of 19.5 knots, collided in the Taiwan Strait. No one was hurt but both ships were damaged and, although there was no pollution, a number of containers were lost overboard. After the collision, both ships sailed to Hong Kong for repairs.

Safety issues

  • the passing arrangement agreed by the master of Washington Senator was made with an unidentified ship, not Lykes Voyager

  • the developing close-quarters situation between Washington Senator and Lykes Voyager could have been resolved solely by the early application of the COLREGS. However, the master of Washington Senator opted to contact Lykes Voyager on VHF radio

  • by the time Washington Senator established VHF communications with Lykes Voyager, the distance between the ships was less than 5 miles

  • identification procedures were not followed during each VHF radio transmission, and the identity of the ship with which the passing agreement was made, which was probably one of many within VHF radio range, was not established

  • the avoiding action taken by Lykes Voyager was not taken until the ships had closed to about 2.5 miles. This was due to the inexperience of the third officer, who was focused by the threat posed by a nearby ship being overtaken, and because the master had been distracted


Recommendations have been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing, the International Association of Marine Institutes (IAMI), the Association of Marine Educational and Training Institutes Asia-Pacific Regions (AMETIAP), and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

This report was published on 10 February 2006.

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015