Friday, 28 November 2008 09:10

A FRASERBURGH fishing vessel tried to warn a merchant vessel of an impending collision, but the fishing vessel’s radio was not working properly.

This has been revealed in the preliminary finding of an Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) probe into the colllision on September 13 this year between the Inverness registered cargo ship Scot Venture and the Fraserburgh registered beam trawler/scallop dredger Golden Promise in the Moray Firth in conditions of clear visibility and broad daylight.

According to the MAIB report , the officer of the watch onboard Scot Venture had become engrossed in carrying out chart corrections, rather than carrying out his prime task as officer of the watch and keeping a good lookout.

“ Additionally, he omitted to utilise the available watchkeeping and radar alarms, which might have reminded him of his watchkeeping duties and alerted him to the vessel ahead.”

The skipper of Golden Promise observed the merchant ship close from a distance and assumed that the vessel would keep clear.

“ Latterly, when it became apparent that the vessel was not altering course, he tried to attract its attention by radio, but this was malfunctioning and was heard by other stations to be breaking up.

“Last minute evasive actions, taken by the oncoming watch officer on Scot Venture, proved unsuccessful, and the merchant vessel struck the trawler’s derrick. Fortunately the derrick’s preventer stay parted, saving Golden Promise from major damage or capsize.”

The MAIB says action has been taken in the wake of the incident, when there were no injuries.

The managers of Scot Venture had issued a fleet circular to all their vessels notifying them of the accident and of the need to keep a proper lookout at all times.

Meanwhile, the owners of Golden Promise have serviced the vessel’s VHF radio and intend to fit an AIS-B, which will identify other vessels by their AIS signal and transmit Golden Promise’s identity to them.

Additionally, the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the owners of Scot Venture recommending the company put measures in place to ensure company and masters’ standing orders are complied with at all times and that navigational and ancillary bridge equipment is used to best advantage.

The Chief inspector has also written to the owners of Golden Promise advising them of the need for fishing vessels to take avoiding action in ample time, if a give way vessel fails in her obligations, and the need for an effective vessel induction for new skippers.