On 5 February 2013, a crewman was lost overboard from the motor tug Endurance 2.3 miles west-south-west of Beachy Head, England. The crewman fell while attempting to cross to the unmanned motor cruiser Sirius M with a replacement towline after the original towline connecting the two vessels had parted. The motor tug’s skipper’s efforts to recover the crewman back on board in rough seas were unsuccessful.
Endurance was not certified to operate in the sea conditions experienced
the skipper was not qualified to operate the vessel during the coastal sections of the intended voyage
the skipper was not trained or qualified in towing operations and did not follow good practice
decision-making and behaviour on board were likely to have been affected by fatigue
safety was afforded a low priority on board
issues relating to the roles of the vessel’s Certifying Authority and the port authorities were also identified
Action has been taken by the International Institute of Marine Surveying, Medway Ports, Peel Ports Group and the owner/skipper of Endurance to address the safety issues identified. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has also taken steps to ensure the lessons learned are shared with all the UK certifying authorities. A recommendation has been made to Endurance’s owner and skipper, which is intended to help ensure the safe operation of his vessel in the future.