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Report on marine accident, grounding and foundering of the fishing vessel Mijana 13 April 2012

The fishing vessel 'Mijana' had taken part in a search operation off the coast of Farsund on the evening of 13 April 2012. The accident happened after the search operation was over, when the stern of the vessel ran hard aground, which led to water ingress. The stern sank relatively quickly. This led to the exit from the wheelhouse, where the master was, being under water. The vessel floated vertically on the air in the foreship for a brief period, but it foundered before the master managed to evacuate the wheelhouse. He was later found dead in the wreck. Two people were rescued from the vessel before it foundered.

The master knew the waters very well, and it is not clear what caused the fishing vessel to run aground. The Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN)’s safety investigation has focused on the events leading to the fishing vessel foundering, including the design of and requirement for watertight compartments. The investigation has also looked at general requirements relating to the registration and inspection of fishing vessels.

The investigation found that the aft bulkhead that separated the cargo hold from the tank compartment at the stern of the vessel was probably not watertight. This meant that almost the whole aft half of the hull could fill with water as the result of damage to the vessel stern. It cannot be ascertained that the outcome of the accident would have been different if the bulkhead aft of the cargo hold had been watertight, but without a watertight bulkhead, ‘Mijana’ had no chance of keeping her stern afloat.

When ‘Mijana’, which was built in 1982, was registered as a fishing vessel for the first time in 2005, it was not a requirement that the aft cargo hold bulkhead was watertight. In the AIBN’s view, the current general regulatory requirements for watertight compartments, set out in the Nordic standard for small vessels in professional use (Nordisk Båtstandard – NBS) of 1990, do not necessarily provide the best protection against leakages in the foreship and stern. The AIBN therefore sees a need to introduce additional requirements in this area, in order to increase the general level of safety and the chances of survival for crew and vessels. A safety recommendation is submitted to the Norwegian Maritime Authority in this connection.

The investigation also points out that the current regulations mean that vessels can be registered as fishing vessels without being subject to any requirements for technical documentation. A draft amendment to the current regulations relating to fishing vessels up to 15 metres overall, for which the deadline for consultation submissions has been set to 15 February 2015, proposes that such vessels should be inspected by an approved body and be required to have stability documentation before they are taken into use. The AIBN believes that, if the amendments are adopted, they will make a positive contribution to safety.

The investigation concludes that vessels built before 1992 that are between 8 and 10.67 m in length and that either are or can be registered as fishing vessels, cannot, in the AIBN’s view, be required to presenttechnical documentation of structural features. This means, for example, that vessels with structural weaknesses can be registered as fishing vessels without these weaknesses having to be rectified. The AIBN sees this as unfortunate from a safety perspective.

Safety recommendation

Safety Recommendation MARINE No 2015/05T

The investigation of the accident involving ‘Mijana’ has found that the grounding that occurred on 13 April 2012, which damaged the vessel’s stern, led to almost half the hull being exposed to water ingress. This probably caused the vessel to founder. There are no concrete requirements for watertight compartments in the currently applicable regulatory requirements set out in the Nordic standard for small vessels (NBS) of 1990, except for passenger vessels, to protect against leakages in the foreship or stern.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Norwegian Maritime Authority consider introducing requirements for watertight compartments for new,decked fishing vessels of less than 15 m in length, so that the vessels are designed with watertight compartments that provide adequate protection against leakages in the foreship and stern.


Location Off the coast of Farsund
Occurrence date 13.04.2012
Accident category Grounding
Area Norwegian Territorial Waters
Name of vessel Mijana
Accident type Fatal Accident, Grounding
Vessel type Fishing Vessel
Register The Norwegian Fishing Vessel Register

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