Captain and Mate Arrested After Ship Collides with Fishing Boat off Iceland

cargo ship
Icelandic police suspect the Longdawn collided with the fishing boat (FARMAR file photo of Longdawn)

Published May 17, 2024 3:53 PM by The Maritime Executive


Icelandic officials are confirming that a court has ordered the captain and second mate of a cargo ship that was sailing off the southern coast held after a suspected collision with a fishing boat early on May 16. Miraculously, the fisherman survived uninjured from his capsized boat but the cargo ship continued sailing with the Coast Guard later tracking the vessel into the port of Vestmannaeyjar.

According to the Coast Guard and the Search and Rescue Service, it was approximately 0300 local time on May 16 when a fishing boat came upon an object in the water. According to the operator, he first thought it was a container and then realized it was the boat of his friend of 40 years. The two men had headed out earlier that evening fishing on their boats and the one was a few miles ahead of his friend who ended up saving his life.

Realizing it was an overturned boat he placed an emergency call and the Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter while the search and rescue team was sailing toward the scene. The fisherman reports his friend suddenly appeared from under the boat in a survival suit. The suit however was waterlogged, and the man had to cut it off his friend to retrieve him out of the water.

The survivor was taken by the Coast Guard to shore and he told them it happened quickly but that he thought his fishing boat had been clipped by a passing cargo ship. He was reported to be cold and wet but suffering no serious injuries. He had been able to pull on the survival suit as his boat capsized. The rescue services were also able to recover the capsized fishing boat.

The Coast Guard tracked the Longdawn sailing from Rotterdam. The 8,250 dwt vessel is registered in Antigua & Barbuda. It is 423 feet (129 meters) and is operated by a shipping company Longship in the Netherlands. 

“There are traces of collision on both vessels, which is considered to strongly strengthen the police’s suspicion of a collision as the cause of the capsizing of the boat,” the police said in a statement. Media reports and pictures showed scrapes on the bulb of the cargo ship’s bow.

Initially, the police detained the captain, chief officer, first mate, and second mate while they were investigating. They were also sending for an interpreter reporting two of the men were from Russia and a third was Asian. The chief officer and first mate were later released.

The court ordered the captain and second mate who had been on duty Thursday morning arrested with a detention of up to four weeks while the investigation continues.

The Longdawn departed from Iceland on Friday on its return trip to Rotterdam.