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Report on marine accident - Santana R-32-ES shipwrecked off Hellvik, Eigersund 31 October 2014

Fishing vessel 'Santana' R-32-ES left its home port of Hellvik in Eigersund municipality at approximately 10:00 on 31 October 2014. It was assumed that the fisherman was to haul/deploy pots in the Molvika area, and check the ones which already was deployed. The vessel did not return and was reported missing to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre for Southern Norway (JRCC-S) at 16:48 the same day. A major search operation was launched, of the sea and along the shore. Neither the fisherman nor the vessel was found.

All of the fisherman's pot chains were found and hauled. Boat cushions and flotsam stemming from the vessel were found. Rogaland police district and the AIBN carried out two underwater searches, in November 2014 and May 2015, respectively. These searches were fruitless and the vessel was never located. It was not until June 2015 that the body of the fisherman was washed ashore outside Haugesund.

The investigation finds that the accident must have taken place between 10:15 and 14:00. It is assumed that the fisherman intended to deploy pot chains in Moivika, and to haul and check for lobster, pot chains that were already in the sea. One of the vessels pot chains that was recovered at Hella was missing a pot with buoy and rope. The rope between the fifth and sixth pot had been cut/severed by a sharp object. The sixth pot with rope and buoy have never been located.

The AIBN believes that the findings can indicate that the fisherman was dragged overboard while deploying the first chain that day, or later on while hauling another chain. The fisherman himself may thus have cut the rope between the fifth and sixth pots.

The fact that the accident was not observed or reported in any way meant that a search and rescue operation was not launched until the evening of 31 October. A buoyancy aid of the type used by the fisherman proved not to be sufficient to save lives under the prevailing conditions, where the temperature of the sea in late October would lead to rapid heat loss (hypothermia), with subsequent exhaustion and loss of consciousness.

The AIBN makes no safety recommendation in connection with the investigation, but makes reference to reports it has previously published concerning safety measures for lone fishermen, such as wireless emergency stop device, safety line, approved buoyancy aid and rescue ladder.

Update after publication of the report

In October 2016, a local fisherman from Hellvik found an orange buoy marked with the name of the deceased fisherman who owned the fishing vessel Santana. The buoy was attached by a line to the bottom and could not be pulled up. It was found in the western part of Moivika on the far side of Hedlene.

The AIBN hired a local diving firm that carried out a ROV inspection in the area on 6 December 2016. On the same day, at a depth of 23–24 m, wreckage was found that with a high degree of probability comes from the fishing vessel Santana R-32-ES.

The ROV inspection clearly identified the gear, shaft, propeller, pot hauler, parts of the hydraulic system and electrical components. Furthermore, it documented that the pot chain was most probably entangled around both the propeller and the pot hauler.

The place where the wreckage was found confirms the assumptions made in the report that was submitted about where in Moivika the vessel foundered. The observations made during the ROV inspection support the theory that a pot and buoy that were unaccounted for earlier in the investigation probably contributed to the vessel foundering.

The findings and observations made support the conclusions of the report that was submitted. The AIBN cannot see, therefore, that any new information exists that indicates that further investigations should be carried out.


Location Moivika, Eigersund Municipality
Occurrence date 31.10.2014
Accident category Lost ship
Area Norwegian Territorial Waters
Name of vessel Santana R-32-ES
Accident type Lost/missing vessel, Fatal Accident
Vessel type Fishing Vessel
Register The Norwegian Fishing Vessel Register

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