MAIB initial assessment after the explosion onboard the potting fishing vessel Galwad-Y-Mor

Detail of shell plating damage to Galwad-Y-Mor showing coating loss and indentation between internal frames
Detail of shell plating damage to Galwad-Y-Mor showing coating loss and indentation between internal frames

A preliminary assessment of the explosion resulting in damage and abandonment of the potting fishing vessel Galwad-Y-Mor (BRD116) 22 nautical miles north of Cromer, Norfolk on 15 December 2020 has been released by the MAIB.

On 15 December 2020, Galwad-Y-Mor was operating in potting fishing grounds east of the Wash. At about 1120, the crew was in the process of hauling in a string of crab pots; the skipper was in the wheelhouse with other crew members below decks working the pots. The hauler was being used to heave in the back rope, and the crew had let the skipper know that there was a lot of tension on the line, when there was an unexpected explosion.

Galwad-Y-Mor was thrown up from the sea surface, then landed heavily back down; all propulsion and electrical power was immediately lost. The skipper was injured and dazed, but conscious, and saw that the wheelhouse had been completely wrecked. As he became aware that other crew members had been badly injured and that the engine room was flooding, the skipper ordered the crew to abandon ship. He also raised the alarm by texting the skipper of a sister vessel and activating the electronic position indicating radio beacon.

Preliminary assessment
While recovering crab pots using its hauler, Galwad-Y-Mor was extensively damaged and serious injuries were inflicted on the crew by an explosion. The explosion was in the water and external to the vessel. There was nothing that the crew could have done to prevent the accident. The source of the explosion has not been determined, but it was possible that old munitions on the seabed were disturbed as the vessel hauled its pots. Although extensively damaged and flooded, it is almost certain that Galwad-Y-Mor stayed afloat because the bulkheads either side of the engine room maintained their watertight integrity, containing the flood.

Download the full preliminary assessment: PrelimaryAssessment-Galwad-Y-Mor

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