The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has this month published an accident report on the collision between the Gibraltar registered motor yacht, Vision, and the UK registered motor yacht, Minx.
The collision, which occurred on 25 May 2019 in Cannes, France, resulted in the death of Minx’s crewman, who was on the foredeck at the time of the incident. The report revealed that Vision and Minx’s guests had spent that afternoon and evening anchored and drinking and partying together. On departure from the anchorage, Vision’s skipper, at the suggestion of Vision’s charterer, attempted a high-speed close pass of the anchored Minx. The aim of the close pass was to provide an opportunity for the guests to wave goodbye to their friends on-board Minx. However, during the manoeuvre Vision’s skipper lost control of the yacht and it collided with the anchored Minx.
The MAIB has ascertained that the accident between the two motor yachts occurred due to a collection of factors. Firstly, the results of the Vision’s skipper’s blood test indicated that he was under the influence of cannabis at the time of the accident. This was likely to have significantly impaired his decision-making, and his ability to respond and react appropriately.
The accident took place at Île Sainte-Marguerite, an anchorage with a 5-knot speed limit which is applicable to all vessels. At the time of the accident, Vision was travelling at over six times that limit. The MAIB’s report found that travelling at high speeds was unsafe in such an anchorage.
Vision’s surface-drive propulsion system was also a factor in the collision, it was deemed complex to operate and there were insufficient margins for error in the skipper’s plan to allow for any misjudgement, loss of control or failure. The report identified that were a series of hydrodynamic effects immediately prior to collision in the system which would have been difficult for the skipper to predict or counter.
The RYA will continue to work with the MAIB to establish and share further learnings from this tragic accident, once there has been an opportunity to assess all contributing factors.
You can find further information about the collision on GOV.UK.
For more information on general boat safety, visit the advice pages of the RYA Safe Boating hub.