Collision between pure car carrier City of Rotterdam and ro-ro freight ferry Primula Seaways

Location: River Humber, England.

Accident Investigation Report 3/2017

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

MAIB investigation report 3-2017: City of Rotterdam/Primula Seaways

Annexes to MAIB investigation report 3-2017

City of Rotterdam damage

Damage to City of Rotterdam

Exterior damage Primula Seaways

Damage to Primula Seaways


On 3 December 2015 the Panama registered pure car carrier City of Rotterdam collided with the Danish registered ro-ro ferry Primula Seaways on the River Humber. Both vessels were damaged but made their way to Immingham without assistance. There was no pollution and there were no serious injuries.

Safety lessons

  • the pilot’s actions resulted from a ‘relative motion illusion’
  • robust challenges to the pilot’s actions could have prevented his illusion from leading to the collision
  • off-axis bridge windows and lack of visual references led to pilot’s disorientation
  • ergonomic impact of innovative bridge design not fully assessed


Bureau Veritas, City of Rotterdam’s classification society, has been recommended (2017/104 and 2017/105) to propose measures to the International Association of Classification Societies that are aimed at raising the awareness of relative motion illusion and promoting the need for naval architects and shipbuilders to adhere to internationally accepted ergonomic principles for bridge design.

Published 8 February 2017