Collision between motor yacht Lady of Rudding and dumb barge, towed by workboat Datchet, with 1 person injured

Location: 10.5 miles west north west of Tintagel, Cornwall, England.

Completed PE Summary: Lady of Rudding/Barge BC 6470/Datchet

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name:   Lady of Rudding
Registered Owner:   Privately owned
Flag:   UK
Type:   52’ Motor yacht
Built:   1965
Construction:   Wood
Length overall:   52 feet
Tonnage:   30 tonnes displacement
Date & Time:   04/04/08 00:50 BST
Location of incident:   10.5 miles WNW Tintagel, Cornwall
Incident Type:   Collision
Persons onboard:   2
Injuries/fatalities:   1 person with broken ribs
Damage/pollution:   Damage to wood work around bow and pulpit rail distorted
Vessel name:   Datchet
Registered Owner:   Severn Seas Shipping Co Ltd
Flag:   UK
Type:   Workboat Cat 2
Built:   1968
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   23.0m
Date & Time:   04/04/08 00:50 BST
Location of incident:   10.5 miles WNW Tintagel, Cornwall
Incident Type:   Collision
Persons onboard:   3
Injuries/fatalities:   None
Damage/pollution:   None
Vessel name:   Barge BC6470
Registered Owner:   Severn Seas Shipping Co Ltd
Flag:   UK
Type:   Dumb barge
Built:   1953
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   36.57m
Gross tonnage:   607gt
Date & Time:   04/04/08 00:50 BST
Location of incident:   10.5 miles WNW Tintagel, Cornwall
Incident Type:   Collision
Persons onboard:   None
Injuries/fatalities:   None
Damage/pollution:   Scuff and chips to paintwork

Synopsis

Lady of Rudding was on passage from Newlyn to Portishead with her new owner and a friend on board. On departure, the weather forecast was favourable, though fog patches were predicted. The radar was operating in an unstabilised, ship’s head up mode. The owner took over the watch shortly after midnight, with the vessel making a speed of about 8 knots. He occasionally sounded a fog signal of one prolonged blast.

Datchet, with a dumb barge in tow, had left Appledore at about 1700, heading for Torquay. Having streamed the tow to about 100m and having passed Hartland Point at about 2200, the skipper sent the second watchkeeper below to rest. The visibility was poor, and the skipper could not see the navigation lights on the barge. He occasionally sounded a fog signal of one prolonged blast followed by two short blasts. The radar was operating in an unstabilised, ship’s head up mode. There were many fishing boats displayed on the radar, requiring the skipper to conduct a number of collision avoidance manoeuvres.

At about 0030, the tug skipper noted a radar echo directly ahead at between 4 and 5 miles range and interpreted it to be a vessel approaching on a reciprocal course. When the echo closed to 1 mile range, he started to alter course, and then to slow down. Both actions were carried out in steps to avoid the tug being overrun by the barge.

Meanwhile, Lady of Rudding’s owner had noticed a radar echo ahead, and had become confused since the echo appeared to occasionally divide into two separate echoes and he was uncertain as to whether the echoes would pass to port or starboard. He decided to maintain course and speed hoping to see the lights of whatever it was, and to then take avoiding action as necessary. He called his friend on deck, and sent him forward to act as lookout. With the lights of the tug now visible to port, the owner could still see a radar echo ahead, but no lights on the barge. Shortly afterwards, his friend saw something large looming out of the fog, and shouted for him to alter course. The owner put the wheel hard to starboard and the engine astern, but these actions could not avoid a collision with the barge. The impact threw the owner against the wheel, breaking two of his ribs.

Lady of Rudding sustained damage to her pulpit rail and stem post; however, there was no water ingress and she was able to proceed, later seeking medical assistance for the owner. Damage to the barge was minor.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the owner of Lady of Rudding and to the skipper of Datchet, strongly advising them to ensure their understanding of the relevant International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. He has also suggested that they both undertake an appropriate radar training course, and has drawn their attention to their obligation of rendering assistance to each other and of exchanging information following a collision at sea.

Published: May 2008


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