Collision between general cargo vessel Leeswig and trawler Spes Bona V

Location: 3.5' north-east of Pladda lighthouse, Firth of Clyde, Scotland.

Completed PE Summary: Leeswig/Spes Bona V

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name:   Leeswig
Registered owner:   M/S “Leeswig” GmbH & Co.KG
Manager:   Hans-Uwe Meyer Bereederungs
Port of registry:   St John’s
Flag:   Antigua and Barbuda
Type:   General cargo
Built:   1996 Germany
Classification Society:   Germanischer Lloyd AG
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   88.0m
Gross tonnage:   2,901
Date & Time:   27 January 2010, 0107 UTC
Location of incident:   3.5’ north-east of Pladda lighthouse, in Firth of Clyde
Incident Type:   Collision
Persons on board:   8
Injuries/fatalities:   None
Damage/pollution:   Damage to forecastle head bulwark on port side
Vessel name:   Spes Bona V
Registered owner:   Privately owned
Port of registry:   Ballantrae
Flag:   UK
Type:   Trawler
Built:   2004 in Scotland
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   14.950m
Date & Time:   27 January 2010, 0107 UTC
Location of incident:   3.5’ north-east of Pladda lighthouse, in Firth of Clyde
Incident Type:   Collision
Persons on board:   4
Injuries/fatalities:   None
Damage/pollution:   Damage to top outer edge on port side of the gantry


Leeswig was heading 184° (T) on loaded passage from Glasgow to Seville. At about 0045, the lookout reported the lights of a vessel ahead to the chief officer, who interpreted them to be of a power-driven vessel heading in a north-westerly direction. Shortly afterwards the lookout went below, leaving the chief officer alone on the bridge.

The lights were those of Spes Bona V, which was trawling in a northerly direction. The skipper had seen the lights of Leeswig, interpreted it to be an end-on situation and expected her to keep out of the way. However, as it became apparent that Leeswig was not taking avoiding action, he altered course to starboard to show her port sidelight; he then turned on the deck lights and shone a bright torch at the vessel. Finally, he put the helm hard to starboard, but this was too late to prevent a collision.

Actions taken

The Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to Leeswig’s management company, strongly advising it to review its instructions and auditing procedures to ensure:

  • the lookout remains on the bridge at night whenever practicable;
  • the watch alarm is operational when no lookout is on the bridge;
  • officers of the watch make greater use of radar guard zones;
  • the collision checklist is readily available on the bridge and accurately reflects duties under UNCLOS and any specific company requirements;
  • visual bearings are taken to determine and monitor risk of collision.

He has also strongly advised that the company reinforces compliance with its existing company instructions on the frequency and methods used to fix vessels’ positions.

Th Deputy Chief Inspector has also written to Spes Bona V’s skipper advising him that, in future, he should consider taking earlier avoiding action as permitted by Rule 17(a)(ii) of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

Published: 17 March 2010

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