Parting of rope during hauling operation on twin-rig trawler Hendrika Jacoba with loss of 1 life

Location: 150 nautical miles north of Den Helder, the Netherlands.

Completed PE Summary: Hendrika Jacoba

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Fishing Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Hendrika Jacoba
Registered Owner Zeevisserijbedfijf UK 127 BV
Port of Registry Grimsby
Flag UK
Type Twin-rig trawler
Built 1982 in Holland
Construction Steel
Length Overall 40.2m
Date/Time 20/04/2010, 0445 (UTC+2)
Location of Incident 150 nautical miles north of Den Helder
Incident Type Equipment failure
Persons Onboard 5
Injuries/Fatalities 1 fatality
Damage/Pollution None


The accident occurred on the after deck during hauling operations. The clump weight had been stowed and the starboard trawl door had been secured alongside by two of the four deckhands. The skipper, who was inside the wheelhouse using CCTV screens to view the after deck, had heaved the port trawl door until there was 0.5m of trawl wire left outside the trawl block.

One of the deckhands placed a hook into one of the trawl door inner chain links. The hook was attached by shackles to a 2m-long, 32mm polypropylene rope strop, the other end of which was attached to a pad eye welded to the top of the bulwark. As the skipper heaved in the last 0.5m of wire, the rope strop tightened and bowsed-in the trawl door alongside the bulwark. Just as the skipper stopped heaving, the hook opened up under load, causing it to be released from the chain. The rope snapped back and the hook struck the head of one of the deckhands

Action taken

The Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the skipper/owner acknowledging the risk reduction and isolating measures that he has taken following the accident and strongly advising him to:

  • Ensure that he has an effective work equipment examination and maintenance / replacement routine, together with relevant records.

  • Consider further risk control measures such as organisation, supervision, effective communications and clearly marked snap-back areas.

  • Ensure that all control measures are developed from and recorded in the vessel’s risk assessment.

  • Refer to the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s MGN331(M+F), The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Provision and Use of Work Equipment) Regulations 2006.

The Deputy Chief Inspector has also advised the MCA to satisfy itself that modifications since made to the vessel’s equipment, maintenance routine and hauling procedures provide for a safe system of work.

Published: June 2010

Published 23 January 2015