Person overboard from berthed trawler Mercurius with loss of 1 life

Location: Milford Docks, England.

Completed PE Summary: Mercurius

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name:   Mercurius
Port of Registry:   Fleetwood
Flag:   UK
Built:   1963
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   26.72m
Registered length:   21.47m
Gross tonnage:   95
Propulsion:   Single FPP
Date & Time:   18 February 2009, after 0230 but before 0830
Location of incident:   Milford Docks
Incident Type:   Man overboard
Injuries/fatalities:   1 fatality


FV Mercurius had returned to her home port of Milford Docks to land her catch; the skipper’s intention was to sail the next day. One of the crew stayed on board that evening as he did not live locally; the rest of the crew stayed ashore. In the event, the next day’s sailing was postponed, and during that day, FV Stephanie moored alongside Mercurius.

During the afternoon, the crewman staying on Mercurius went ashore to the local pub. Late in the evening he returned on board, and at 2330 was seen standing on Mercurius’s deck by the mate of Stephanie, who spoke to him and ascertained he was all right. The mate of Stephanie then spent a few hours in the nearby pub before returning to his boat at 0230. As he crossed Mercurius, he found the crewman asleep on the deck, next to the starboard accommodation door. He tried to rouse him, but the crewman did not want to move so he decided to head for his own bunk.

The next morning the crewman from Mercurius was found dead, floating face down in the harbour between the quay and the boat.

Action taken

The chief inspector has written to the owner concerning the potential hazards of crew living on board while in port.

Published: April 2009

Published 23 January 2015