Contact made by wind farm passenger transfer catamarans: Windcat 9 with floating target and Island Panther with turbine

Locations: Floating target at Donna Nook Air Weapons Range off Lincolnshire, England. Turbine at Sheringham Shoal Wind Farm off North Norfolk, England.

Accident Investigation Report 23/2013

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

W9IPReport-Web.pdf (3,067.15 kb)

Annexes (13,492.66 kb)


The two accidents (detailed below) in this report occurred on the same day, 21 November 2012, but in different circumstances. However they do share many common safety issues especially with respect to the standard of watchkeeping observed by the crews of both vessels.

  • Contact with a floating target by the wind farm passenger transfer catamaran Windcat 9 while transiting Donna Nook Air Weapons Range in the south-west approaches to the River Humber, England.

  • Contact of Island Panther with turbine I-6, in Sheringham Shoal Wind Farm off the Norfolk coast, England.

Safety Issues (Windcat 9)

  • Windcat 9’s master did not hold the correct qualifications
  • navigation practices on Windcat 9, including passage planning and monitoring, use of lookouts and knowledge of the navigation equipment were weak
  • the company’s crew assessment procedures were not followed and the master of Windcat 9 had not been formally assessed to determine his suitability for his role

Safety Issues (Island Panther)

  • the master relied too heavily on visual cues and made insufficient use of the lookout and navigation equipment available
  • there was insufficient training, particularly in regard to navigation equipment
  • there was no formal assessment of new masters, allowing the possibility of ingrained poor working practices being passed on
  • although the turbine transition piece had been reported as unlit, the system for reporting defects had failed to result in a navigation warning being promulgated


Windcat Workboats Limited has been recommended (2013/234, 235 & 236) to: review and amend its recruitment and qualifications check procedures; procedures for the initial and continuation assessments of masters and crew and to determine standards for its assessors; navigation instructions and to take measures to improve its crews’ knowledge of navigation practices and the use of electronic navigational aids.

The National Workboat Association and International Marine Contractors Association, in collaboration with other industry bodies, has been recommended (2013/240 & 241) to further develop and expand its “Best Practice” guidance for crews of offshore renewable energy passenger transfer vessels to include guidance for owners/ managers, and; to advise the offshore renewable energy industry of its procedures for promulgating industry-related marine safety lessons to ensure these receive the widest possible distribution.

Recommendations have been made to the wind farm operator, Scira Offshore Energy Ltd (2013/237), the vessel owner, Island Shipping Ltd (2013/238 & 239), and other stakeholders involved in the offshore renewable energy industry aimed at improving the safety of wind farm passenger transfer vessel operations.

This report was published on 20 November 2013.

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015