The Dutch Safety Board has issued an interim warning to the fishery sector for beam trawlers with a length of less than 24 metres. Such beam trawlers can become extremely unstable in an asymmetric loading condition. This follows from investigations completed to date into the very serious occurrences involving the trawlers UK-165 in 2019 and the UK-171 in 2020.

An asymmetric loading condition occurs for example if fishing gear is suspended from the outrigger boom on one side of the ship, and not on the other. In that situation, the ship no longer floats upright in the water, but adopts a permanent list. This can have such serious consequences for the stability of the ship that it can lead to capsizing and sinking.

The Safety Board writes that this risk is ‘great and real’, but not or hardly ‘known or recognised’ in the fishing industry.

Also read: Fishing cutter from Urk capsizes on North Sea, three crew rescued

Ongoing investigation

The Board will not publish its final investigation into the serious accidents involving fishing boats UK-165 Lummeltje in the autumn of 2019 and UK-171 Spes Salutis in the autumn of 2020 until later this year. Two people died in the accident with the Urk fishing boat Lummeltje. But the findings the council has made so far are already so serious that it is issuing this interim warning.

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