Belgium’s Federal Bureau for the Investigation of Maritime Accidents (FEBIMA) issued an investigation report on the collision between the cargo ship MV ACEROMAR and the fishing vessel Z.575- HEIN SENIOR in the traffic separation scheme Terschelling – German Bight near Schiermonnikoog which led to material and structural damage to both vessels.
On August 3 rd 2020, at 04:02 hours, the Belgian flagged beam trawler Z.575- HEIN SENIOR collided with the Luxembourg-flagged general cargo vessel MV ACEROMAR. The collision occurred inside the traffic separation scheme Terschelling-German Bight, approximately 16nm NxW off the North Tower lighthouse on the isle of Schiermonnikoog.
MV ACEROMAR was following the TSS in westerly direction and was heading towards the port of Rotterdam and FV Z.575-HEIN SENIOR was crossing the TSS in northerly direction on its way to fishing grounds near Denmark.
After the collision the mv ACEROMAR was damaged on PS, above the waterline, from for’d of the beam to the aft. Some side shell plating, deck plating, railing, and bulwark were bent. The hatch cover gantry crane was damaged by the PS derrick of FV Z.575-HEIN SENIOR. The vessel was ripped open on PS bow, above the anchor lock, over a length of approximately 5 metres. The PS derrick of FV Z.575-HEIN SENIOR was smashed against the wheelhouse after it had hit MV ACEROMAR.
After contact with the Dutch Coast Guard, FV Z.575-HEIN SENIOR returned to its port of departure, Lauwersoog, and mv ACEROMAR continued its voyage to the port of Rotterdam.
The collision between the two vessels stemmed from MV ACEROMAR not being observed onboard FV Z.575-HEIN SENIOR and the consequential lack of manoeuvring by both vessels in order to avoid the collision.
The apparent intentions of the four fishing vessels contributed to the accident. The four fishing vessels that sailed in convoy did not all take early and substantial action to give way to mv ACEROMAR, which lead to assumptions onboard MV ACEROMAR, being wrong.
Based on the assumption that the watchkeeper onboard FV Z.575-HEIN SENIOR did notice MV ACEROMAR, there was no need for the officer of the watch onboard MV ACEROMAR to call FV Z.575-HEIN SENIOR over the VHF and to take earlier action to avoid a collision.
- Watchkeeping habits onboard FV Z.575- HEIN SENIOR did not allow to timely observe a vessel that had right of way. Not all available navigational aids to observe such vessels, including radar alarms, were used.
- Light pollution from the deck lights of FV SC.28-ORA ET LABORA hindered the view of the watchkeeper onboard FV Z.575-HEIN SENIOR.
- FV SC.28-ORA ET LABORA maintained a small CPA when crossing mv ACEROMAR. A give way vessel should take early and substantial action to give way. Maintaining a small CPA brings confusion and leads to wrong assumptions.
-The owner of the vessel is recommended to adjust the watchkeeping practices on board to improve the detection of vessels that cause a risk for collision. All available means to timely observe any risk for collision, including radar alarms, should be used.
-PREVIS is recommended to create and/or increase awareness among the watchkeepers onboard Belgian fishing vessels regarding:
- the influence of deck lighting on the observing capabilities of watchkeepers onboard vessels nearby.
- the importance of early and substantial action for give way vessels in collision courses.