Chief Mate Guilty Over Fatal Dredger Collision

On the 8th June 2014 the Shoreway, a 98 metre 5000 tonne dredger, owned by Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV, collided with a Moody 31 sailing yacht Orca at the entrance to the River Orwell in Suffolk.

At the helm of the Shoreway at the time was Mr Gerardus Chapel who was employed as Chief Mate.

The Shoreway had just finished dredging in Felixstowe and was going out to sea to dump the spoils. The Shoreway for an unknown reason left the deep water channel into an area frequented by pleasure vessels.

In the area was the Orca, which was owned by Peter and Bernadine Ingram, who lived locally, were out for a day’s sailing in their yacht that they had owned for several years.

The Shoreway hit the Orca head on and cut a large hole in the vessel’s starboard side. The Orca sank almost immediately. Mr Ingram managed to swim to the surface, but his wife was caught in the wreckage. Mrs Ingram’s body was recovered by divers the following day.

When interviewed by MCA Enforcement Officers, Mr Chapel, who had been a qualified Captain for several years, admitted that he just did not see the yacht, even though it was clearly visible and on radar.

Mr Chapel was sentenced to nine months, reduced to six months which has been suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty to conduct endangering ships, structures or individuals, section 58 Merchant Shipping act 1995.

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