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You are here: Skip Navigation LinksDanish Maritime Accident Investigation BoardNewsMarine accident report about the foundering of RIGI on 23 April 2018

Marine accident report about the foundering of RIGI on 23 April 2018 

14. December 2018

On 23 April 2018, the small German owned motorboat RIGI foundered in Faxe Bay, Denmark, approx. 1 nm from shore. On board was a team of three fish biologists, who were a conducting marine biotic survey, and an observer representing the contractor of the survey. The persons escaped the sinking boat and ended in the water. They stayed by the boat in the hope that rescue assistance would arrive, but after a while they realised that their best chance of survival was to swim to shore and alert the rescue services. In the attempt to swim for help the observer perished.

The survey conducted on board RIGI on the day of the accident was part of a large scale project, involving several companies. The investigation showed that the choice of boat, and its equipment, operation and manning had influence on how the accident unfolded. Therefore, the investigation found it relevant to address the question of how and why such large, professional project organisation chose to conduct the commercial research in Faxe Bay using a small recreational craft manned by four non-professional mariners. The accident investigation report therefore focuses on both the technical and organisational circumstances leading to the foundering of the boat and the fatality that occurred as a consequence.

Following the investigation, DMAIB emphasizes that operations with small boats need to be considered as high risk activity, also when carried out close to shore. When flooded, small boats quickly loose stability and there is little or no time for making distress calls and an orderly evacuation becomes impossible. Hence, it is crucial that equipment and training is provided for making time efficient distress calls and enabling effective means of evacuation. DMAIB has observed that small boat operations close to shore often result in a lowered risk perception, because it is perceived to be easy to recover from the emergency situation or reach shore. The lowered risk perception often results in a reduced emergency preparedness, which is reflected in of the choice of emergency equipment on board and the lack of contingency planning and drills.

DMAIB has prepared the marine accident report in English. The report is available here.

For further information, please contact marine accident investigator Grete Horsboel by phone + 45 91 37 63 05 or email

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Responsible for this article
Grete Horsbøl
Marine Accident Investigator
Phone: +45 91 37 63 05