Investigation into arrow fracture that killed 12-year-old boy: again to blame for wood rot

Investigation into arrow fracture that killed 12-year-old boy: again to blame for wood rot

The Dutch Safety Board has issued a critical report on the danger of wood rot on historic sailing ships. This report was prepared after two similar events.

On August 21, 2016 and March 20, 2019, four people were killed when part of the mast broke and landed on them. In both cases these broke through wood rot.

Many problems with information and maintenance

The Council concluded that there are many problems with the so-called brown fleet sector. Things did not go well in areas such as information, maintenance and security.

Following the accident in August, the municipality has therefore launched a so-called follow-up investigation. “Monitoring will examine to what extent lessons can be learned and what is needed to prevent such accidents in the future.”

The victim of the August 31 crash was a 12-year-old girl. Together with other young people from a secondary school in The Hague, he sailed on a boat near Terschelling.

The girl died on the spot from her injuries. No one else was injured. Others on board disembarked in Harlingen, where they received victim assistance. In total there were about fifteen people on board.

accident in 2016

The accident on Terschelling is comparable to that in Harlingen in August 2016, in which three Germans were killed. So it was not the explosion that broke a historic ketch from 1898, but a mast. On the chartered boat were twelve Germans from the same family, as well as the captain and his wife. The group had made a trip across the Wadden Sea.

The mast broke because most of it was rotten. Investigation by OVV showed that water could penetrate the pole and could no longer escape.

That is why the OVV advised, among others, the Association of Captains and Contract Professionals (BBZ) to develop standards for the profession. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, the Ministers of Infrastructure and the Environment and the Minister of Economic Affairs were advised to think about government supervision.

“What is going on here?”

The professional association (BBZ) considers it “very important” that the Dutch Safety Board initiates a follow-up investigation into the fatal accident. Director Paul van Ommen explains that after the accident in 2016, a platform for information centers was set up and standards were developed for, among other things, masts and booms. “We have put a lot of time and energy into this. Now this seems to be related to wood rot. Wood rot is part of wood and that is not a bad thing in itself, it is about handling it in the right way. Now the question is. What happened here? There’s no point in speculating about it.

The ship was not affiliated with the association. According to Van Ommen, it doesn’t matter. “It says nothing about the quality of the ship or the intentions of the captain.”

Ships must be inspected every 2.5 years. This so-called rig inspection is required by law. The trade association also advises to carry out an extensive inspection ‘in addition to the daily inspections of course’ twice a year.

Audit reports are not available to the public. Van Ommen says that a request in this direction has been rejected by the minister.

Source: RTL