Two separate fatalities connected with the operation of UK registered workboat GPS Battler

Location: Off Almeria, Spain and Marin, Spain

Accident Investigation Report 17/2015

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

MAIB investigation report 17-2015: GPS Battler

GPS Battler


This reports two MAIB’s investigations of the deaths of crewmen from the workboat GPS Battler while the vessel was operating in Spain.

On 13 August 2014, the vessel’s master drowned soon after the open tender returning him from the marina in Almeira to the anchored workboat was overwhelmed in choppy seas. The tender flooded rapidly and started to submerge. The master initially swam clear but soon lost consciousness and could not be revived.

On 5 January 2015, a crewman joining GPS Battler as mate fell into the water from quayside in Marin while waiting for the access arrangements to the vessel to be made safe. The mate was soon motionless and was recovered from the water by the Spanish Coastguard.

Alcohol consumption was a contributing factor in both cases.

The key safety issues identified were:

13 August 2014

  • The open tender was not suitable for use in choppy seas.
  • Alcohol consumption probably relaxed the master’s approach to risk.
  • The master’s chances of survival were reduced by not wearing a lifejacket.

5 January 2015

  • The mate was intoxicated and probably fell or lost his balance.
  • The mate probably suffered from cold water shock when he entered the water.
  • The workboat’s crew were unable to recover the mate from the water and delayed calling for external assistance.


MAIB has made recommendation 2015/143 to GPS Battler’s managers aimed at ensuring that the actions it has taken following these accidents to improve the safety management of its workboats, particularly with regard to its drug and alcohol policy, are effective.

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