The incident

The German schooner 'No. 5 Elbe', built in the 19th century, collided with the Cyprus-flagged 141-meter-long container ship 'Astrosprinter', about 30 kilometers (18 miles) west of Hamburg on 8 June 2019.

A total of 28 passengers and 15 crew were onboard the schooner at the time of the incident.

The vessel managed to reach the Schwinge estuary without assistance, but sank near the pier shortly after.

There were no fatalities as rescue forces were already near the scene. Eight were injured.


Safety issues

The BSU highlighted issues associated with watertight integrity. Even during extensive conversions and renewals on the vessel, the hull was not fitted with watertight bulkheads.

From the perspective of the BSU, the existence or subsequent installation of watertight bulkheads should depend on whether passengers are carried onboard. In accordance with national and international provisions, respectively, this should be mandatory if more than 12 passengers are carried onboard,

...BSU noted.



Following investigation, the BSU identified a need of urgent action in order to enhance the watertight integrity of traditional vessels carrying more than 12 passengers. A such, it recommends:

  • The Federal Bureau of Transport and Digital Infrastructure to advocate for the amendment of the aforementioned legal status.
  • The owner and operator of the shooner to install watertight bulkheads to such an extent during the upcoming repair that the 1-division-status is provided for.
  • The owners of traditional vessels carrying more than 12 passengers to examine if the watertight integrity is satisfied in case of leakage for the 1-division-status and install watertight bulkheads, if necessary.


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