Grounding and capsize of berthed trawler Saint Christophe 1 resulting in loss of the vessel

Location: Dartmouth, England.

Accident Investigation Report 24/2016

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened and safety lessons learned:

MAIB investigation report 24-2016: Saint Christophe 1

Fishing vessel Saint Christophe 1 sunk alongside berth


On 9 March 2016, 3 French fishing vessels sought shelter from bad weather in Dartmouth harbour, on the south-west coast of England. One of the vessels, Saint Christophe 1, was directed to berth alongside a quay wall and when the tide went out it grounded and capsized alongside. Saint Christophe 1 subsequently flooded and sank with the incoming tide, and was declared a constructive total loss.

Safety issues

  • The lack of effective communication between harbour authority staff and vessel’s crew failed to ensure a common understanding of the fact that the boat would ground at low water
  • The assumption that the crew understood the information provided by the harbour staff, prevented further safety checks from being made
  • The harbour authority staff directed the boat to berth alongside a quay that had been identified as hazardous without ensuring that mitigating measures were put in place
  • Saint Christophe 1 was not able to be made watertight due to the fastenings on several doors and hatches having been disabled
  • The crew of Saint Christophe 1 did not verify the safety of the berth


The MAIB has made safety recommendations to the vessel’s owners (2016/152), and to Dartmouth Harbour Navigation Authority (2016/151). These are intended to help improve the onboard safety management of Saint Christophe 1 and another of the fishing vessels (Sagittaire) and the safety management within the port of Dartmouth.

The report also makes a recommendation (2016/150) to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to undertake a Port Marine Safety Code health check for Dartmouth in 2017.

A safety flyer highlighting a number of the safety issues was produced for this report.

Published 16 November 2016