At 0026 on 6 August 2017, the 5.64m recreational motor cruiser James 2 and the 26.24m commercial fishing vessel Vertrouwen collided in Sussex Bay, 1.6 miles south-east of Shoreham harbour. James 2 was drifting with the wind and tide while the four men on board were rod fishing for mackerel; Vertrouwen had just left port and was on passage to Grimsby. Neither vessel was damaged by the impact but James 2 was swamped by Vertrouwen’s wash and sank. Three of the men on board the motor cruiser drowned; a fourth was rescued from the water 5 hours later by a passing fishing vessel.
an effective lookout was not being kept on either vessel
none of the sea anglers on James 2 were wearing lifejackets
James 2 was not showing the correct navigation lights for a vessel of its size
the watchkeeper on Vertrouwen was distracted by social media on his phone and vessel administration on a laptop in the wheelhouse
Safety recommendations (2018/102 and 2018/103) have been made to the owners of Vertrouwen to include references within their safety management system to keeping a lookout and when to complete vessel departure reports.
Safety flyers to the fishing industry and to sea anglers highlighting a number of the safety lessons were produced for this report.