B1/2002M Collision of Two Motor Boats in Tammisaari Archipelago on 7.7.2002

A Brig Eagle 600 -type motor boat left the Box village in the archipelago of Tammisaari on 7 July 2002 at about 0040 hrs towards east along the 3 m fairway with a plan to turn to south after passing the Växär island. On board there were four people: a man, a woman, an 11-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl. A Buster RS –type motor boat left the pier at the Sandnäsudd market on 7 July 2002 at about 0045 hrs to follow the same fairway west towards a cape on the southern side of the fairway and west from Rösund. On board the Buster-boat there were three people: one woman and two men.

The two boats approached the narrow part of the fairway in the sound between the cape of Synnernäs and the Växär island from opposite directions at the same time at about a speed of 25 knots. Both of the boats were manoeuvring along the southern part of the sound. These manoeuvres took them unnecessarily close to the Växär island. The driver of the Brig-boat got the impression that the Buster-boat was coming directly towards his boat. Due to the closeness of the shore he made a sharp turn to the left, northwards. Approximately at the same time also the Buster-boat tried to turn north. As a consequence of these turning manoeuvres the two boats collided approximately in the middle of the sound so that the bow of the Brig-boat hit the port side of the Buster-boat in an almost perpendicular angle. The woman and the man who had been sitting on the stern seat in the Buster-boat and the boy in the Brig-boat were fatally injured.

The accident was partly caused by the course chosen by the Buster-boat. It would have run quite close to the rocks on the shore of the Växär island, or on the left side of the sound as seen from the Buster-boat. This track is commonly used in this place and it is close to the fairway line marked on the nautical chart. There was insufficient look-out in the Buster boat and the driver probably did not see the navigation lights of the Brig-boat until just before the collision.

The accident was also partly a result of the inadequate actions taken by the Brig-boat driver when he tried to avoid the collision. It was very difficult for the Brig-boat driver to assess the situation correctly because the navigation light of the Buster-boat was either hidden behind the back of the Buster-boat driver or it did not function. In addition, the speed of both boats was too high considering the circumstances. A contributing factor in the accident may also have been the heavy intoxication of the Buster-boat’s driver. Also the driver of the Brig-boat was slightly intoxicated. Whether this had an effect in the accident is difficult to assess.

The investigation committee recommends among other things that the rules concerning the navigation lights should be specified and that the acceptable per mille level of alcohol should be lowered for the sake of the boating safety. The committee also proposes an educating campaign, where the importance of consideration towards other seafarers and the significance of adjusting the boat speed according to the prevailing circumstances are emphasized.

Accident Investigation Board appointed an investigation committee to investigate the accident. Director Tuomo Karppinen, acted as chairman and M.Sc.Eng Klaus Salkola and Master Mariner Juha Sjölund acted as expert members.

B1/2002M Report (pdf, 0.98 Mt)

Published 18.2.2002