The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published its report into the collision between the German container ship Merkur and the UK fishing vessel Silvery Sea, which then foundered about 35 miles west of Esbjerg, Denmark, with the loss of five lives on 14 June 1998.
Silvery Sea was on passage from the fishing grounds while Merkur was on passage from Hamburg to Gothenburg, partly loaded with containers. The weather was fine with good visibility and it was daylight. There was no other traffic involved in the incident. The fishing vessel sank very quickly. Silvery Sea foundered because she was holed forward and pushed down in the collision. Water was able to progressively flood the full length of the vessel through open doors in the transverse bulkheads.
Recommendations are made with regard to collision bulkheads in fishing vessels, to the researching of possible increased deadweight of refrigerated salt water (RSW) tanks due to the settling and compression of sand eels, and to the review of criteria for commissioning post mortem examinations following an accident.