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David v Goliath: the dangers of big ships

15 August 2011

yatch collisionA dramatic collision between a yacht and a tanker in the UK serves as a reminder of the very real dangers of getting too close to big ships.

The collision between a 33ft yacht and an LPG tanker took place during a sailing event in the Solent, off the Isle of Wight, reportedly watched by more than 100,000 spectators.

The yacht crashed into the tanker while flying a spinnaker, losing both its mast and its rigging.

Two of the crew had to be rescued from the sea after their collision, reported website One of the crew members was taken to hospital with a gash to the head and was later discharged.

The website reported onlookers describing the yacht trying to claim right of way over the tanker or trying to slip past the tanker’s bow.

 The video of the incident clearly shows the power of the tanker and its inability to slow down or change direction, Brian Hemming, Director Transport Safety Regulation said.

“Getting too close to large ships is a real danger that boat operators must be very mindful of,” he said.

“In the last year we’ve had at least 17 incidents reported to us where boats have acted dangerously in the Port River."
"Big ships need a lot of room because of their speed, difficulty in turning and the wash that the propellers create. Regulations require all boats to give way to larger vessels restricted in their maneuverability and above all getting in their way puts your crew’s lives in danger.”

Refer to the Safe boating near commercial vessels webpage for more information.