Whilst fishing at anchor a pleasure vessel had to cut its anchor rope and lines in order to avoid a drifting tug.
What the Reporter told us:
My fishing boat was anchored on a fishing mark. The boat is fitted with radio, ‘radar sounder’ transmitter, and was exhibiting a black anchor marker to indicate that l was at anchor, plus a light at night.
Just before dawn, I had been watching a vessel for several hours approximately a mile away passing up and down and I felt that he would have picked me up as my anchor light is quite bright. Later, during another check on vessels around me, this particular vessel was now about 2-3 miles to the west of me.
After a while I checked again and to my horror this vessel was drifting towards me at no more than 100 yards and closing fast. l shouted as loudly as l could and used the foghorn but there was no movement from the other vessel.
As l was rapidly running out of time l decided to take what action l could – there was no time to raise the anchor and so l started the engine and cut the anchor rope. My fishing lines were still deployed, and I was unable to retrieve them. l managed to motor away as the other vessel continued to drift, apparently unaware of the near miss.
I tried to call the vessel up on VHF Channel 16, then Channel 12 (the local shipping channel) but there was no reply. l made my way back to the harbour, thoroughly shaken.
CHIRP learnt that the reporter had notified the Harbour Master’s office as the near miss occurred within their jurisdiction. The Harbour Master advised the reporter they had contacted the vessel’s owners – they responded as follows:
We have looked at this incident in depth including interviewing the captain. We have concluded from the information available to us that although the vessel was close to you, the watchkeeper was fully aware of your position and due to the good conditions, continued to drift as the CPA would not get any closer. He commented that he had not witnessed anyone onboard. Additionally, the VHF was continuously monitored, and nothing was heard from yourself or the local VTS.
The Maritime Advisory Board highlighted the following;
- all vessels must maintain a proper lookout at all times.
- perception of risk differs depending on aspect – the view from an enclosed wheelhouse fitted with ARPA and ECDIS is very different from that of a pleasure boat with a height of eye of only 1.5m.
- for both vessels, engines should be at immediate standby.
Additionally, timely VHF communications are prudent and useful but if a situation requires immediate action then VHF calls are probably not the best use of the available time.