Contact made by scallop dredger Golden Promise with self elevating barge Buzzard

Location: Liverpool Bay, England.

Completed PE Summary: Golden Promise

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Fishing Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel name Golden Promise
Manager Whitelink Seafoods Limited
Registered Owner Seacrest Fishing Company Limited
Port of Registry Fraserburgh
Flag UK
Type Beam trawler/scallop dredger
Built 1996
Construction Steel
Length Overall 14.20m
Registered Length 11.96m
Gross Tonnage 22.80
Date/Time 10/04/2009, 0028 (UTC)
Location of Incident Liverpool Bay
Incident Type Contact
Persons Onboard 2
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Minor damage


Golden Promise sailed from Whitehaven on 5 April 2009. During the next few days, commercial pressure influenced the skipper and single crew to fish around the clock. A break was provided while at shelter from bad weather, but the rest period was spent dealing with long-standing winch defects.

Just before midnight on 9 April the skipper of Golden Promise shot away the scallop dredges and soon afterwards the deckhand went to the mess room to rest. As the vessel headed north in Liverpool Bay the lights of the Self Elevating Barge (SEB) Buzzard, which was elevated and involved in wind farm survey work, were clearly visible to the skipper. He was well aware of the SEB’s position as he had previously fished close to the barge despite a navigation warning, advising vessels to keep a wide berth, being in place.

At about 0010 on 10 April the main engine lubricating oil pressure gauge sited in the wheelhouse started to fluctuate violently. The wheelhouse main engine monitoring panel, including the engine emergency stop, had been defective for some time, so unsure of the situation the skipper decided to investigate the problem. The vessel was in auto-steering, towing at 2.5 knots with the SEB at 2-3 points off the port bow about 0.8 mile away, when the skipper left the wheelhouse and went to the engine room. The tidal stream set the vessel on a course directly towards the SEB and, at 0028, Golden Promise made contact with the hull of the SEB while the wheelhouse was unmanned. Fortunately it was almost high tide, which prevented Golden Promise from being driven under the SEB’s hull. There was superficial damage to the lower edge of the SEB’s hull and minor impact damage to the stem adjacent to the whaleback and to the guardrails on board Golden Promise.

Action taken

The manager of Golden Promise has:

  • Instructed the skipper to recruit an extra deckhand to reduce the build up and risks associated with fatigue.

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the manager and skipper of Golden Promise highlighting the:

  • Dangerous effects of cumulative fatigue, especially with regard to decision making and risk taking.

  • Need to keep manning levels under review to ensure the vessel’s safe operation and to reduce the build up of fatigue.

  • Skipper’s responsibility for the safety of his crew and vessel and the implications of leaving the wheelhouse unmanned.

  • Need to promptly attend to defects which compromise the safety of the crew and vessel.

  • Importance of regularly accessing the MCA’s Marine Notice guidance eg. MGN 313(F) Keeping a Safe Navigational Watch on Fishing Vessels.

Published: May 2009

Published 23 January 2015