safety warning scallop dredger

The MAIB has issued a safety warning following a chain failure on scallop dredger Honeybourne III with loss of one life. Photo: MAIB

A safety bulletin has been issued following a tragic incident on the UK registered scallop dredger ‘Honeybourne III’ PD905, resulting in the loss of one life.

The incident occurred on the night of 06 October 2023, when a chain link in the lifting arrangement for the dredging gear failed, causing it to fall unexpectedly and fatally strike a deckhand working on the deck below.


Incident Details:

The lifting arrangement failure on the Honeybourne III is a grim reminder of the risks associated with quick-release mechanisms. The vessel’s quick-release gear, commonly used on beam trawlers and scallop dredgers, experienced a catastrophic failure, leading to serious head injuries and the tragic death of a crew member.

Safety lessons
  • The recent recorded accidents and failures of chain links leading over a static pin as part of a quick-release mechanism indicate the significant risk of such arrangements failing when loads are applied to the chains. These arrangements can induce complex loading forces in the chain links, leading to excessive wear on the chain links and significantly reducing the chain strength.
  • The location of the chain links at the derrick head and the fact that the deterioration of the chain links may not be easily visible mean that it can be difficult to inspect and identify degradation of the quick-release arrangement.
  • The potential failure of chains used in this manner presents an unacceptable level of risk to crew members working on the deck below.


Recommendations and Actions:
  1. Focused Inspection Campaign:

A recommendation (2024/101) has been issued to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to conduct a focused inspection campaign on UK scallop dredgers and beam trawlers with similar quick-release mechanisms. The goal is to raise awareness, assess and mitigate the risk, and ensure crew members are informed and protected.


  1. Owners and Operators’ Responsibilities:

Owners, operators, and skippers of UK scallop dredgers and beam trawlers using chain in their quick-release mechanisms have been urged (2024/102M) to:

– Undertake a thorough risk assessment, addressing the safety issues identified in the safety bulletin.

– Implement immediate mitigations to reduce the risk to crew members.

– Inform the crew about the findings of the risk assessment and protective measures.


The urgent call for inspections and safety measures aims to prevent further tragedies and enhance the safety of crew members working on similar vessels. The maritime community is urged to prioritise the well-being of their crews and implement necessary changes promptly.


Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, Andrew Moll OBE, said:

“This is the second death that the MAIB is investigating as a result of a chain comprising part of a quick-release system at the derrick head failing under load and allowing fishing gear to fall onto crew working on deck. Today, I am urging the owners and operators of beam and scallop trawlers to take note of the dangers highlighted in this safety bulletin, and to take immediate steps both to inspect their vessel’s quick-release arrangements and to make any changes necessary to the equipment or its operation to ensure the safety of crew working on deck. The chain-over-pin arrangement has recently resulted in two deaths and there is no room for a do-nothing option.”


Source: Press Release

the fishing daily advertise with us
the fishing daily advertise with us
the fishing daily advertise with us
Follow The Fishing Daily