Collision between ro-ro cargo vessel Thelisis and trawler Our Sarah Jayne resulting in the trawler flooding and sinking

Location: Thames Estuary, England.

Accident Investigation Report 9/2002

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken and subsequent recommendations:

our-sarah-jane-and-thelisis.pdf (605.94 kb)


On 20 June 2001, the 8,904gt Greek-registered ro-ro cargo vessel Thelisis, collided with the 14.02m UK registered fishing vessel Our Sarah Jayne in the Thames Estuary. At the time of the collision Thelisis was under pilotage and Our Sarah Jayne was engaged in fishing. As a result of the collision, Our Sarah Jayne flooded then foundered. The skipper, who was operating his vessel single-handedly, was rescued by a Thames pilot cutter. There were no injuries. Thelisis sustained slight damage to her hull plating.

Safety Issues

  • the pilot’s reliance on the use of VHF radio for collision avoidance
  • the pilot’s complacency and expectation that Our Sarah Jayne would alter course on his request
  • the master of Thelisis failing to override the pilot’s instructions
  • the decision by Our Sarah Jayne’s skipper to sail single-handedly, thereby denying himself the ability to keep a safe navigational watch


Recommendations have been addressed to the PLA, the owner of Thelisis and also to Our Sarah Jayne’s skipper and owner, which if implemented should reduce the risk of such an accident recurring.

This report was published in February 2002.

Published 23 January 2015