Person overboard from motor tug Endurance while crossing to unmanned motor cruiser Sirius M with loss of 1 life

Location: 2.3 miles west-south-west of Beachy Head, England.

Accident Investigation Report 13/2014

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons and recommendations made:

Endurance.pdf (10,138.63 kb)

Endurance photo


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.

Safety lessons

  • 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.

Published: 5 June 2014

Published 23 January 2015