MAIB report into the sinking of the Diamond D SN100 off Tynemouth in August 2020 was due to flooding from hull damage caused by trawl doors

MAIB report into the sinking of the Diamond D SN100 off Tynemouth in August 2020 was due to flooding from hull damage caused by trawl doors

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has published its report into the loss of the 15.67m prawn trawler, ‘Diamond D’ SN100 of Tynemouth in August 2020.

On 16 August 2020, the UK-registered trawler was on passage between Eyemouth, Scotland and North Shields, England. The skipper and the vessel’s owner were relocating the boat in order to carry out planned survey and maintenance work. While on route, the two crew carried out a trawl to catch fish, during which the net snagged on the seabed.

Diamond D took on a list as the crew attempted to recover the net by hauling it. At about 15.00, the Diamond D sank 20 nautical miles north-east of Tynemouth after suffering hull damage and subsequent water ingress while trying to uncross its towing wires.

The crew abandoned to a liferaft and activated the boat’s emergency position indicating radio beacon. They were rescued by the crew of an RNLI lifeboat about one-hour later and landed ashore to Tynemouth. Although shaken by their experience, neither crewman was injured.

Both crew members had been working on deck for a prolonged period of time, during which the wheelhouse was left unattended. Consequently, they did not notice the bilge alarms, which would have alerted them to the flooding, until it was too late to take remedial action.

Safety Issues

  • hull damage caused by trawl doors hitting the hull as crew attempt to uncross towing wires
  • flooding not noticed until it was too late
  • crew did not hear the bilge alarm because they left the wheelhouse unmanned and were totally focused on recovering the gear

The rapid deployment of the vessel’s liferaft, donning of lifejackets and manual activation of the vessel’s Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), meant that the crew remained safe and were quickly located.

Although no recommendations are made in this report, it should nevertheless serve as a reminder to fishing vessel crews to be prepared for flooding emergencies, to regularly check under waterline spaces and to wear PFDs at all times while working on deck.

maib report diamond d

In the conclusion of the report, the MAIB finds:

  • Diamond D foundered because the flooding of the hull went unnoticed until it was too late for the crew to take remedial action.
  • It is almost certain that the hull was damaged when it was hit by the trawl doors, which then allowed an ingress of seawater. The food water was able to spread through the vessel as there were no watertight bulkheads to contain it.
  • While uncrossing the towing wires, the crew considered the trawl doors hitting the hull to be a normal occurrence and did not recognise the danger of damage to the hull planking. Consequently, they did not verify the vessel’s watertight integrity.
  • The flooding went unnoticed because the crew did not see or hear the wheelhouse bilge alarms and were task-focused, dealing with crossed towing wires and a heavy weight in the fishing net.
  • Had there been a third crew member on board and the wheelhouse not left unmanned for 7 hours, the bilge alarms may have alerted the crew to the flooding of the hull. This could have given the crew time to use the additional pumping capacity available.
  • The wearing of lifejackets undoubtedly saves lives. The two crew were fortunate that the liferaft inflated correctly and that both men did not end up in the water, as neither was wearing a lifejacket when Diamond D capsized.
  • When it became apparent that Diamond D was in peril, the VHF call to alert the coastguard and the signal from the EPIRB assisted the rescue services in locating the crew in the liferaft in a timely manner
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