RMI investigation: Collision of container ship with fishing vessel during dense traffic

The incident

The RMI-registered container ship CAPE MORETON, managed by Ahrenkiel Steamship GmbH & Co. KG, was sailing from Hong Kong, bound for Tianjin, People’s Republic of China (PRC), when it collided with MIN XIA YU 04555, a PRC-registered fishing vessel, at about 0416 on 23 January 2019.

As a result of the collision, two fishermen from MIN XIA YU 04555 were swept overboard. A search for the missing fishermen was coordinated by authorities in the PRC.

They were not located, and the search was suspended after six days. The fishermen are considered missing at sea.


Probable causes

The marine safety investigation conducted by the RMI Maritime Administrator identified the following causal factors contributed to this collision:

  • failure of the fishing vessel, as the give-way vessel in a crossing situation, to take adequate action to keep clear of CAPE MORETON;
  • CAPE MORETON’s decision to turn to port as the stand-on vessel;
  • failure of the fishing vessel and CAPE MORETON to take early, positive action to avoid collision;
  • failure of CAPE MORETON to reduce speed when approaching the dense fleet of fishing vessels;
  • failure of the fishing vessel and CAPE MORETON to sound the warning signal when unsure of the other’s intentions; and
  • failure to adequately identify the risk posed by navigating through a dense fishing fleet.

An additional factor identified, but which did not contribute to this collision, was MIN XIA YU 04555’s failure, while actively fishing, to display the lights required by the IMO’s Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGs) for “vessels engaged in fishing, other than trawling.”

At the time of the collision, MIN XIA YU 04555 was not actively fishing, having finished with its nets. Because of this, MIN XIA YU 04555 was considered a power-driven vessel underway before the crossing situation was identified.


Actions taken

In response to this very serious marine casualty, the Company has taken the following Preventive Actions.

  1. A fleet-wide circular detailing the lessons learned was sent to all ships in the Company’s managed fleet.
  2. Navigation watch officers completed computer based COLREGs refresher training.



It is recommended that the Company review and amend, as necessary, the procedures related to navigation watchstanding during times of dense vessel traffic to ensure they are adequate to prevent a similar occurrence.


Explore more herebelow:

Cape Moreton report

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