Person overboard from twin-rig trawler Sanlormarho II with loss of 1 life

Location: 1.5 miles east of Blyth, England.

Completed PE Summary: Sanlormarho II

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name:   Sanlormarho II
Registered Owner/Manager:   Mr J Grant
Port of Registry:   Leith
Flag:   UK
Type:   Twin-rig trawler
Built:   1972
Construction:   Wood
Length overall:   19.94m
Gross tonnage:   67
Date & Time:   4 March 2008 1653 UTC
Location of incident:   1.5 miles E Blyth
Incident Type:   Accident to person
Persons onboard:   5
Fatalities:   1


Sanlormarho II sailed from Eyemouth at 0230 on 4 March and proceeded towards her fishing grounds. At 0645 she shot her nets and commenced trawling for prawn until 1215 when, as the trawl was being recovered, the central warp parted. The outer warps and nets were then recovered and the vessel made for Blyth to take on replacement wires for all three warps.

At 1630, when the vessel was close to Blyth, the crew made preparations for fitting the new wires by removing the old outer wires of the three warps and then end for ending the inner wires to ensure the strongest wire would be available for trawling once the new wires were received and fitted in Blyth. By 1645, work on the two outer wires had been completed and the crew began work on the centre wire.

The end for ending process required the crew to feed the wire over the stern in a long bight as the vessel made way, head to sea, at about 3 knots. The outer end of the wire had earlier been secured with a rope stopper and, once the wire had been payed out, another stopper was secured to the inner end of the wire to prevent movement while the joining shackle was removed. At 1652, two crewmen were removing the pin from the joining shackle when, without warning, weight suddenly came onto the bight of wire trailing over the stern, causing both stoppers to part and the wire to become tight.

Unfortunately, one of the crewmen had positioned himself such that as weight came onto the wire, he was trapped in its bight and thrown overboard. He was not wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.

The skipper, who had been in the wheelhouse at the time of the accident, was alerted by a call of “man overboard”, and immediately ran down to the deck, with the intention of entering the water to rescue the man. However, the man was already too far astern for this and showed no signs of life. The skipper then returned to the wheelhouse, initiated a “Mayday” call to the coastguard, and turned the vessel back towards the man overboard position, however, apart from two items of outer clothing, there was no sign of the man.

Despite a lengthy search, coordinated through the coastguard, by a helicopter, five lifeboats and several local boats and fishing vessels, no trace of the man was found.

Action taken

  • The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the skipper reminding him of the need to ensure that appropriate risk assessments are carried out for non routine tasks as well as for routine tasks, and that control measures are sufficiently detailed, with particular consideration given to supervision and the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment on deck.

Published: March 2008

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