Collision between fishing vessel Vertrouwen and motor cruiser James 2 resulting in motor cruiser sinking with loss of 3 lives

Location: Sussex Bay, Shoreham-by-Sea, England.

Accident Investigation Report 2/2018

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons learned and recommendations:

MAIB investigation report 2-2018: James 2 and Vertrouwen

Fishing vessel Vertrouwen
Recreational motor cruiser James 2 being recovered

Video summarising the accident and lessons identified by our investigation:

MAIB investigation for James 2 and Vertrouwen


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.

Safety lessons

  • 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.

Published 7 March 2018