Collision between landing craft Pont Menai and trawler Sea Seeker

Location: Lyme Bay, England.

Completed PE Summary: Sea Seeker and Pont Menai

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name   Pont Menai
Port of registry:   Holyhead
Flag:   UK
Type:   Landing Craft
Built:   1986
Construction:   steel
Length overall:   27.46m
Gross tonnage:   84.83 (dwt)
Date & Time   29/01/2007 1800
Location of incident:   England, S.Coast, Lyme Bay
Incident Type:   collision
Persons onboard:   3
Injuries/ fatalities:   None
Damage/ Pollution:   Minor – small indentation to hull above waterline
Vessel name   Sea Seeker
Port of registry:   Exeter
Flag:   UK fishing vessel
Type:   Trawler
Built:   1985
Construction:   steel
Length overall:   11.15
Gross tonnage:   19.48
Date & Time   029/01/2007 1800
Location of incident:   England, S.Coast, Lyme Bay
Incident Type:   Collision
Persons onboard:   3
Injuries/ fatalities:   None
Damage/ Pollution:   Damage to bow area above waterline

Synopsis

On a calm and clear night the landing craft Pont Menai was proceeding towards West Bay from Beer Head in Lyme Bay when it collided with the fishing vessel Sea Seeker which had just hauled its trawl and was returning to its home port of Lyme Regis.

The Pont Menai Seeker on its starboard bow about 30 minutes before the collision and, following a quick assessment, assumed that the fishing vessel would pass clear to starboard. However, at that time the Sea Seeker was hauling its trawl net and the vessel was therefore effectively stationary to facilitate recovery of the net’s cod end.

With its net recovered Sea Seeker resumed its original course, the crew being occupied in their regular routines of sorting/stowing the catch and cleaning the net prior to arrival in port. No one on the Sea Seeker was keeping a lookout and therefore failed to see the navigation lights of the Pont Menai on their port bow. Meanwhile, the crew of the Pont Menai did not monitor the fishing vessel and thus failed to realise that once Sea Seeker had hauled its net and resumed its passage, the two vessels were on a collision course.

Therefore, with neither vessel maintaining an effective lookout, either visually or by radar, the inevitable occurred and the two vessels collided.

As a result of the collision the fishing vessel suffered material damage to its bow area which necessitated repairs keeping it from fishing for two weeks, whilst the landing craft received a dent in its starboard side which was repaired and the vessel was able to return to service the following day.

Action taken

The Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the owners of both vessels with respect to:

  • The need to guard against complacency, ensuring that a good lookout is maintained at all times, using all available means.

  • That, when determining if a risk of collision exists, the developing situation must be continually monitored to ensure that effective action can be taken in ample time to avoid collision.


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