Collisions/Radar Reflectors

In the summer of 2006 a 25-foot sailing yacht, Ouzo, was thought to have been run down in the English Channel by the passenger ferry Pride of Bilbao, with three lives lost. The British Marine Accident Investigating Branch (MAIB) conducted an inquiry. While debriefing the ferry’s crew, it was determined that the yacht did not show up on the ferry’s radar, but was seen at the last minute by the watch stander.

In typical MAIB fashion the report goes into exhaustive detail about the yacht, the ferry, their respective crew, electronics, even types of eye glasses (with some interesting findings about photochromatic eye glasses). They discuss in detail maintenance issues about yacht running lights, including the information that the aging of plastic running light lenses reduces the transmission of light.

A second report resulting from the MAIB investigation focuses on the various types of radar reflectors fitted to yachts and how they show up on the ships’ radars. The conclusions of their testing on this subject are sobering and bear careful reading.

  • To download a copy of the Radar Reflectors report (a 2.1 MB PDF file), radar_reflectors.
  • To download the MAIB report on lessons learned from the collision (a 1.4 MB PDF file), click here.

Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (October 8, 2007)

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