Finland’s Accident Investigation Board has released its report into the collision between the fishing vessel Hendrik Senior and the ro-ro vessel Birka Exporter. Both vessels failed in this case to comply with the COLREGS, and as a result of complacency, two well equipped and modern ships collided in conditions of good visibility,
even though each knew a risk of collision existed. Bridge equipment was not used effectively and no lookout was present in either wheelhouse at the time.
At 05:29 UTC on 8 December 2008, the UK registered, Dutch operated, fishing vessel Hendrik Senior and the Finnish Ro-Ro cargo ship Birka Exporter collided in international waters approximately 17 NM off the Netherlands coast. There were no injuries and no significant pollution.
Hendrik Senior was on passage from Harlingen, in the Netherlands, to her regular fishing grounds in the North Sea. She was crossing the south-bound lane of the Vlieland Traffic Separation Scheme, near West Terschelling, on an approximately west north westerly course. Birka Exporter was on passage from Finland to Antwerp, heading approximately south south west in the south-bound lane. It was dark; environmental conditions were benign. Each vessel had seen the other, initially by radar and later by eye.