The Owners and Officer of the Watch OOW of a UK Registered fishing vessel Hendrik Sr have been fined a total of £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £9,328.50 at Folkestone Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to several offences following a collision in the Vlieland Straits Traffic Separation Scheme, TSS, on the 8th December 2008.
In the early hours of Monday 8th December 2008 the UK registered fishing Hendrik Sr was travelling within the Traffic Separation Scheme off Vieland, Netherlands, in international waters. Hendrik Sr was travelling across the TSS while a Finnish registered cargo vessel, Birka Exporter, was travelling in the correct direction within the TSS.
Birka Exporter was on the starboard side of Hendrik Sr. Under the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, Colregs, Hendrik Sr was obliged to give way to the cargo vessel and had the primary responsibility for avoiding a collision. A collision ensued at about 06.30 hours with considerable damage being caused to both vessels. There were no fatalities or injuries on either vessel.
At the time of the collision visibility was good. The Hendrik Sr was later declared a total constructive loss and has since been scrapped.
An investigation was started by the Enforcement Unit of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, MCA. The owners, skipper and OOW were interviewed by the Dutch Police at the request of the MCA under Mutual Legal Assistance legislation. No explanation has been given for the collision or its causes.
The owners of the Hendrik Sr, Willem and Jacob Brands of Urk, Netherlands were fined a total of £1,000 after pleading guilty to four charges for breaching Colregs. The OOW, Riekelt Brands of Urk, Netherlands, pleaded guilty to four breaches of Colregs and one charge brought under Section 58 of the Merchant Shipping Act for endangering his vessel and its crew. He was fined £3,500.
The Magistrates made a cost order of £9,328.50 against the three defendants.
Mr. David Fuller, Principal Fishing Vessel Surveyor for the MCA Eastern Region says: “The MCA regards strict compliance with the Colregs as extremely important for ensuring the safety of all at sea. This collision would indicate that even the most basic standards of compliance were not met. It was most fortunate that no one was killed or injured”.