Contrary to some reports the tragedy aboard the Wihelmsen-operated ro-ro car carrier Tombarra in which one mariner died and three were injured on 7 February involved a fast rescue craft, FRC, rather than a lifeboat.
Lifeboats are designed for evacuation, not recovery, a concept that has proved to be dangerously limited over the past two decades, but FRCs are, or should be designed for both launch and recovery, so the tragedies that occur when they fall are especially worrying.
An investigation is underway. Local news reports refer to the breaking of a strap.
Wilhelmsen has issued the following statement: “All our thoughts, sympathies and condolences go out to the family of the deceased crew member. We are in touch with the family and are doing everything possible to provide support at this difficult time. Of the three other seafarers involved in the incident, one has been released from hospital and two will be released shortly. Full support and information is being provided to their families as well as the rest of the crew members,” says Benedicte Gude, vice president corporate communication at Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding …The accident occurred onboard the Wilhelmsen operated car carrier MV Tombarra while the vessel was conducting a rescue boat exercise alongside in the port of Bristol, UK. Four crew members were on-board the rescue boat at the time of the incident. All four were rescued, but most regrettably one crew member passed away as a result of the accident… Wilhelmsen will work closely with all the local authorities, including the police, the coast guard and maritime agency”.