Failure of davit assembly during launch of fast rescue craft from royal fleet auxiliary vessel Mounts Bay

Location: Berthed at Faslane, Scotland.

Completed PE Summary: Mounts Bay

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Mounts Bay
Registered Owner/Manager Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Port of Registry Greenock
Flag UK
Type Naval Support and RFA
Built 2004
Classification Society Lloyds Register
Construction Steel
Length Overall 176m
Gross Tonnage 23569
Date/Time 07/01/2006, 0935
Location of Incident Faslane, 56°04.0N 004°49.0W
Incident Type Machinery Failure
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution None


This new vessel was alongside at Faslane undergoing various commissioning tests. A man overboard drill was held involving use of the vessel’s Fast Response craft (FRC).

The FRC was lowered to a position 1 metre above the waterline, at this level the crew prepared the boat for entry into the water by cocking the off-load release hook and releasing the safety chain.

Lowering was then resumed, whereupon the winch was paid out at full speed and was immediately stopped; this caused the davit assembly to visibly judder, which in turn caused the boat to detach from the hook and drop approximately one metre into the water. The crew were shaken but unharmed.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the manager of Integrated Project Team, Which was responsible for overseeing the design and build of the vessel, reminding them of the recommendation made by IMO in MSC/Circ.1094, dated 17 June 2003, relating to the application of Solas regulations concerning Fast Rescue Craft Systems. This states that all parts of the stowage, launch, and recovery system are proven to be compatible well before installation, preferably at the design stage, and are supplied and supported by a single source.

The Integrated Project Team has reviewed this accident and has initiated modifications to the davit control system to be undertaken by the ship builder.

Published 23 January 2015