Composite image shows 2 photos MV Kota Lembah AND FV Commission
MV Kota Lembah (left - VesselFinder) and FV Commission (right. TAIC photo)
Collision between Fishing Vessel ‘Commission’ and container ship ‘Kota Lembah’, 84 nautical miles northeast of Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, 28 July 2021
Occurrence Date
Report Publication Date
What happened
At about 0400 on 28 July 2021 the longline fishing vessel Commission (F.V. Commission) was motoring at about 6 knots while laying out about 22 nautical miles (NM) of fishing line about 70 NM off the coast in the Bay of Plenty. The F.V. Commission collided with the stationary container vessel Kota Lembah, which had been drifting in the area for several days while waiting for the next available berth at its next port, Auckland.

The Kota Lembah suffered scraping along its hull near the bow and the F.V. Commission suffered damage to its stabiliser arm and wheelhouse structure. The hull of neither vessel was breached in the collision and nobody was injured.

Why it happened
The F.V. Commission’s crew had detected the presence of the Kota Lembah on radar but made no attempt to sight the ship or plot it on the radar. There was nobody keeping watch in the wheelhouse at the time of the collision.

The bridge team on the Kota Lembah had seen and were plotting the F.V. Commission on the radar, and despite the Kota Lembah being required to give way to the F.V. Commission under the applicable collision prevention rules, it did not do so.

The watchkeeping standards on both vessels fell well short of good industry practice.

It was about as likely as not that the F.V. Commission’s skipper was to some degree suffering from the effects of fatigue at the time.

What we can learn
Adhering to the rules for preventing collisions at sea is the best defence against being involved in a collision. When one vessel deviates from these rules, the risk of collision will be significantly higher. When two vessels deviate from them a collision becomes almost inevitable.

Fatigue adversely affects human performance and is known to contribute to accidents. Vessels must be resourced so that fatigue can be appropriately managed.

Non-compliance with standards for achieving navigation safety is also known to contribute to accidents. Anyone involved in keeping a navigational watch needs to be knowledgeable about the collision prevention rules.

Who may benefit
All seafarers, vessel owners and vessel operators.