The crewman fell overboard from the motor tug Endurance while trying to replace a towline
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published a report on the investigation of death of a crewman who fell overboard from the motor tug Endurance.
The tragedy occurred 2.3 miles west-south-west of Beachy Head, East Sussex on 5 February 2013.
At about 0005 on 5 February 2013, the crewman fell overboard while attempting to cross to the unmanned motor cruiser Sirius M with a replacement towline after the original towline connecting the two vessels had parted.
The motor tug’s skipper’s efforts to recover the crewman back on board in rough seas were unsuccessful; the crewman soon lost consciousness and disappeared from view. The search and rescue effort was unable to locate the crewman and body was not found until it came ashore under the cliffs of Beachy Head 11 weeks later.
The MAIB investigation identified that the attempt to reconnect a towline between Endurance and Sirius M was a desperate and ill-considered measure brought about by the use of poor towing practices, a disregard of the weather forecasts, and a lack of planning, risk assessment and emergency preparedness.
The investigation also identified that, although not directly contributory to this accident, the certification process conducted by the International Institute of Marine Surveyors, which allowed Endurance to operate out to sea, was not robust. Weaknesses were also identified in Medway Ports’ compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code.
Action has been taken by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the International Institute of Marine Surveying, Medway Ports, the Peel Ports Group and the owner/skipper of Endurance to address the safety issues identified.
A recommendation has been made to Endurance’s owner and skipper, which is intended to help ensure the safe operation of his vessel in the future.
The full report is available on the MAIB’s website www.maib.gov.uk
Pictures: Images from the MAIB report into the Endurance crewman man overboard tragedy. Credit: MAIB