SAFETY4SEA Conference & Awards
2017
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SAFETY4SEA Conference & Awards
2017
Learn More

Increased speed causes collision between RIBs

collision
Credit: UK MAIB

UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (UK MAIB) issued an investigation report, concerning the collision between the rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) Osprey and Osprey II, in the Firth of Forth, Scotland, on 19 July 2016, that resulted in serious injuries to one passenger. The report presents a summary of the case and possible prevention solutions from future accidents. 

The incident

At 1252 on 19 July 2016, two passenger carrying rigid inflatable boats (RIBs), Osprey and Osprey II, collided in the Firth of Forth. A passenger who was sitting on an inflatable tube of Osprey II was crushed between Osprey’s bow and Osprey II’s helm console, resulting in her sustaining serious injuries.

Both RIBs had departed from Anstruther Harbour and were bound for the Isle of May. While proceeding in parallel at a speed of around 6 knots, the skipper of each RIB increased speed and commenced a power turn away from each other with the intention of passing each other in the course of completing a round turn. However, as the RIBs turned towards each other, it became apparent to both skippers that the RIBs were in danger of colliding. Although they both acted quickly to reduce the speed of their respective vessels and so lessen the impact, they were unable to prevent the collision.  The MAIB investigation identified that:

  • Both RIBs were interacting with a larger tour boat before they commenced a power turn manoeuvre, resulting in them turning towards each other
  • Due to the closing speed and the lack of sea room, the skippers had insufficient time in which to react to prevent a collision
  • Osprey II had inboard seating for 8, and was certified to carry 12 passengers
  • There are currently no regulations preventing persons on RIBs from sitting on the inflatable tubes

Lessons learnt

  1. The power turn manoeuvre had previously been carried out successfully on several occasions, but it had not been formally risk assessed and no thought had been given to what to do if a potential collision situation developed.
  2. Passengers seated on the infatable tubes of passenger tour RIBs have an increased risk of falling overboard, are at significant risk of musculoskeletal injuries and are more exposed to serious injury in the event of a collision.
  3. Internal injuries are hard to diagnose without specialist medical expertise. Unless the extent of an injury is clear and can be competently addressed by those present, appropriate medical assistance should be sought immediately.

The UK MAIB informed that made a recommendation to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, to include in its forthcoming Recreational Craft Code requirements for suitable seating in respect to commercially operated passenger carrying RIBs.

A further recommendation to the Royal Yachting Association, in conjunction with the Passenger Boat Association to review the content of the two documents ‘Passenger Safety on Small Commercial High Speed Craft’ and ‘Small Passenger Craft High Speed Experience Rides’ has also been made.

Further information may be found by reading the full report:

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