The incident at a glance

A Hong Kong licensed fishing vessel collided with a China-registered oil tanker in Dangan Channel Separation Zone 2 in Pearl River Estuary when the fishing vessel was en route from waters off Dangan Islands to Hong Kong. The fishing vessel capsized and sank resulting in the death of all two crew on board.

Incident investigation: Key contributory factors 

  • Both the oil tanker and the fishing vessel failed to maintain a proper look-out at all times so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision as required by Rule 5 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (the COLREGS).
  • They also failed to proceed at a safe speed at all times as required by Rule 6 of the COLREGS.
  • The fishing vessel failed to take early and substantial action to keep well clear of the oil tanker when the two vessels were crossing and a risk of collision is involved, as required by Rules 15 and 16 of the COLREGS.
  • The oil tanker as a stand-on vessel had not taken action to avoid collision by her manoeuvre alone, and failed to take such action as will best aid to avoid collision as required by Rule 17 of the COLREGS.

Lessons learned

Masters, deck officers and ratings/crew of all vessels should comply with the Rules of COLREGS from time to time, and pay particular attention to avoid a collision.

A stand-on vessel may take action to avoid collision by her manoeuvre alone, as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in compliance with these Rules.

The stand-on vessel shall take such action as will best aid to avoid a collision when it cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone.