Person overboard from twin rig trawler New Dawn with loss of 1 life

Location: North Sea.

Completed PE Summary: New Dawn

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Fishing Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name New Dawn
Registered Owner/Manager Fuimus LLP
Port of Registry Fraserburgh
Flag UK
Type Trawler
Built 2004
Construction Wood
Length Overall 14.95m
Gross Tonnage 36.14
Date/Time 13/08/2008, 2235
Location of Incident International waters, 58° 23.15N, 001° 26.2E
Incident Type Accident to person
Persons Onboard 5 crew
Fatalities/Injuries 1 fatality
Damage/Pollution None


A crewman went missing after being swept overboard by a towing chain during routine twin rig trawling shooting operations. It was not possible to establish the precise circumstances of the accident, however, the crew’s operational practices were deemed to be a contributory factor.

After attaching the port and starboard towing chains to the trawl wires, two crewmen worked at attaching the centre chain in an area of considerable danger, between the port and starboard chains. Once attached to the towing chains, the load on the trawl wires was transferred onto the chains. It was during this operation that one crewman was caught between the chains and the vessel’s bulwark rail, and was subsequently carried overboard.

The vessel’s skipper bravely jumped into the sea in an attempt to help his colleague, but this was not successful and the skipper began to succumb to the effects of the cold water. Fortunately, but after some difficulty, the remaining crew were able to recover the skipper from the water. Sadly, however, despite a concentrated search and rescue operation, the crewman was not recovered.

Action taken

As a result of the accident the vessel’s owners carried out a review of their working practices and risk assessment and have:

  • Modified the procedure utilised when attaching towing chains to the trawl warps, so that the middle towing chain is attached before the port and starboard chains;

  • Made compulsory the wearing of inflatable lifejackets for all crew during shooting and hauling operations;

  • Established procedures to ensure that all crew are in positions of safety, before the load from trawl warps is transferred to the towing chains.

In addition, the Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the vessel’s owner to acknowledge the actions taken since the accident, and the valiant attempt made by the skipper to rescue his colleague overboard. However, the Deputy Chief Inspector also recognised the personal danger the skipper placed himself in while attempting this rescue, and suggested the owner may wish to review the equipment available on board the vessel, and procedures which may be adopted, to better facilitate the recovery of a person from the sea.

Published: September 2008

Published 23 January 2015