On 4 August 2018, the UK registered container vessel, ANL Wyong, and the Italian registered gas carrier, King Arthur, collided in darkness, dense fog and an area of heavy shipping traffic, south-east of Gibraltar; both vessels were destined for Algeciras, Spain. ANL Wyong was stopped and waiting for a pilot as there was no berth immediately available; King Arthur was heading towards a boat transfer position near Algeciras. The accident happened because neither vessel appreciated the risk of collision in sufficient time to take effective avoiding action and pass at a safe distance. The investigation has also highlighted risks associated with the inappropriate use of VHF radio and AIS information when assessing risk of collision. The collision occurred within a recognised vessel traffic service (VTS) area; however, the vessels were not warned of the developing risk by the shore authority responsible for traffic safety in the area.
• although both vessels were monitoring the shipping situation, neither bridge team responded effectively to the developing, hazardous situation
• on board ANL Wyong, the officer of the watch was aware of numerous other vessels approaching, but perceived that they would all keep clear, so took no action
• on board King Arthur, the master’s action to avoid ANL Wyong was insufficient, and collision-avoidance decisions were largely based on AIS information and VHF conversations, which were misleading and distracting
• although the collision occurred within a designated VTS area, no action was taken ashore to warn the vessels of the risk of collision
• A safety recommendation (2020/115) has been made to the Spanish Ministry of Development to review the navigational safety arrangements for shipping traffic in the approaches to Algeciras.
• A safety recommendation (2020/116) has also been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to propose an amendment to the International Maritime Organisation to review the navigation status fields in AIS to incorporate a status for vessels underway, but not making way.
Full report available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5e70e50dd3bf7f2693249b81/2020-7-ANLWyongKingArthur.pdf