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:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
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 and Time 29/01/2007, 1800
Location of Incident Lyme Bay, south coast of England
Incident Type Collision
Persons Onboard 3
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Minor – small indentation to hull above waterline
Fishing Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel name Sea Seeker
Port of registry Exeter
Flag UK
Type Trawler
Built 1985
Construction Steel
Length overall 11.15m
Gross tonnage 19.48
Date and Time 29/01/2007, 1800
Location of Incident Lyme Bay, south coast of England
Incident Type Collision
Persons onboard 3
Injuries/ fatalities None
Damage/ Pollution Damage to bow area above waterline


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.

Published 23 January 2015