Snagging on pipeline by twin rig trawler Westhaven resulting in capsizing and sinking with loss of 4 lives

Location: North Sea.

Accident Investigation Report 4/1998

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken and recommendations:



On 10 March 1997, the 19m wooden fishing vessel WESTHAVEN (AH190) was fishing the Fladen Grounds in the North Sea with a crew of four. Weather conditions were good and a slight swell was running. The vessel capsized at about 1010 while attempting to pull the port trawl door clear of a seabed obstruction which was subsequently found to be the PIPER to Flotta 30” pipeline.

Safety Issues

  • excessive force exerted by the port trawl warp on the port gallows, caused by a combination of winch pre-tension, swell and propeller thrust, pulled the vessel over
  • Westhaven was trawling close to a seabed pipeline on a course which was parallel to, or slowly converging with, the pipeline
  • the pipeline in question had free spans of sufficient height to allow the port trawl door to pass beneath, and become trapped on, the opposite side


A number of recommendations have been made to multiple recipients as a result of this investigation.

This report was published on 19 November 1998.

Published 23 January 2015