Grounding of trawler Girl Jane

Location: 0.75 mile west of Polperro, Cornwall, England.

Completed PE Summary: Girl Jane

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Fishing Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Girl Jane
Registered Owner/Manager Privately owned
Port of Registry Sunderland
Flag UK
Type Trawler
Built 1986
Construction GRP
Length Overall 11.58m
Gross Tonnage 15.18
Date/Time 06/05/2010, 0340
Location of Incident Off Polperro, Cornwall
Incident Type Grounding
Persons Onboard 2 crew
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution Vessel damaged/None


Girl Jane grounded shortly after leaving port, while the wheelhouse was unattended and the steering believed to be on autopilot, leaving the forward section of the vessel open to the sea. The skipper and crewman were able to combat water ingress in the foc’sle until the vessel was brought safely alongside in harbour a few minutes later.

After inspecting for damage, Girl Jane subsequently put to sea for a repair yard some 6 miles away. No attempt was made to repair the damage or apply damage control measures, but instead water was kept at bay by means of a portable salvage pump. During the passage the pump air locked, resulting in uncontrollable flooding while the pump was re-primed. Luckily, the vessel did not sink due to the prompt assistance provided by the escorting lifeboat, which enabled the damaged vessel to be brought safely alongside the repair yard.

Action taken

  • The owner of Girl Jane has replaced the autopilot with one which has a watch alarm incorporated.

  • The RNLI has stated its intention to disseminate a reminder to all its stations regarding appropriate use of facilities and that the role of the RNLI is primarily to save life; not to escort already damaged vessels from a place of safety into the open sea.

In addition, the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to Girl Jane’s owner and skipper:

  • To remind them of the need to keep a good lookout at all times.

  • Advising them to consider attending a Seafish Industry Authority damage control course at an early opportunity.

  • Advising them that a damaged vessel should not be taken from a place of safety into the open sea.

Published: June 2010

Published 23 January 2015