Collision between tanker Ras Laffan and twin rig trawler Ashlon

Location: North east of Fraserburgh, Scotland.

Completed PE Summary: Ras Laffan/Ashlon

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name RAS Laffan
Registered Owner and Manager International Marine Transportation Ltd
Port of Registry Majuro
Flag Marshall Islands
Type Tanker
Built 1999
Classification Society Germanischer Lloyd
Construction Steel
Length overall 244m
Gross tonnage 57066
Date & Time 08/12/06, 0425
Location of incident Foreign waters
Incident Type Collision
Damage/ Pollution Minor damage
Fishing Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Ashlon
Port of Registry Banff
Flag UK
Type Twin rig trawler
Built 2003
Construction Steel
Length Overall 14.95m
Gross Tonnage 43
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Minor dent in hull above waterline


Whilst proceeding towards fishing grounds to the NE of Fraserburgh, Scotland the fishing vessel Ashlon collided with the tanker Ras Laffan which was also underway and was on the starboard bow of the fishing vessel. At the time of the collision the watch keeper on the fv Ashlon had fallen asleep and accordingly took no action to avoid collision. The collision occurred on a fine and clear night with a moderate SW’ly wind. Both vessels were displaying the correct navigation lights

The Officer of the Watch (OOW) on the Ras Laffan detected the Ashlon on radar and the initial radar plot (ARPA) indicated that the fishing vessel would have had a closest point of approach (CPA) of 1 mile to port. However, as the two vessels approached one another, with the fishing vessel on the tanker’s port bow, the watch was changed on the Ras Laffan and the next time the radar was checked the CPA had reduced and the fishing vessel was now relatively close. At this time, the OOW on the Ras Laffan ordered the wheel to starboard but as the vessel was swinging the collision occurred.

Fortunately there were no injuries or pollution as a result of the collision and both vessels suffered only minor damage and were able to continue in service once appropriate surveys had been undertaken

Action taken

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

For the fishing vessel:

  • To ensure that appropriate lessons are learnt from this accident and promulgated to other vessels under its management with regard to the need to use all available means to assess if risk of collision exists

  • To ensure that the changeover of a navigation watch does not interfere with the keeping of a good lookout and of assessing ongoing situations

Published 23 January 2015