Collision between beam trawler Vrouw Grietje and ro-ro passenger ferry European Tideway

Location: North Sea.

Accident Investigation Report 25/2001

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

euro-tideway-vrouw-grietje.pdf (1,198.04 kb)


On 16 October 2000, the UK registered ro-ro passenger ferry European Tideway collided with the Netherlands fishing vessel Vrouw Grietje. Damage was sustained by the ferry which was headed towards Felixstowe at slow speed. The ferry reported no injuries. Vrouw Grietje suffered slight damage to the bow and handrails.

Safety Issues

  • European Tideway’s OOW was using ground-based information on the ARPA which was considered the primary means of collision avoidance
  • not all European Tideway’s watertight doors were closed immediately after the collision
  • after the collision the general emergency alarm on European Tideway was not sounded, and no announcement was made
  • the deckhand of Vrouw Grietje altered course, at the position previously instructed to him by the skipper, without first making a check for other traffic either visually or by radar. He, in effect, turned the vessel “blind”. The alteration involved turning about to starboard
  • the alteration made by Vrouw Grietje developed into a situation involving an interpreted risk of collision and did not leave European Tideway enough time to assess the situation and to take avoiding action


Recommendations have been made to European Tideway’s owner regarding voyage data recorders, the use of water-based information for collision avoidance, visual bearings and post-collision action. Recommendations are also addressed to Vrouw Grietje’s owner regarding the need for a proper lookout, competent watchkeepers and skipper’s instruction.

This report was published on 25 May 2001.

Published 23 January 2015