Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

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msirof2001
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Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby msirof2001 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:37 am

[In the collision of the 332-foot mega-yacht ATTESSA IV with the 65-foot charter fishing boat PROWLER nine miles offshore from San Diego, California] one person died.

The PROWLER was returning to port she collided with ATTESSA IV. The ATTESSA IV is like a 22-storey building laying on its side and moving. I'm unsure of the speed but it faired better than the PROWLER with just scratches as reported.

This is interesting and I'm looking forward to hearing about the outcome of the investigations.

A starboard collision on the PROWLER may suggest the ATTESSA IV had right-of-way. Both boats were under way so the Prowler wasn't fishing at the time. ColRegs talks about collision avoidance. My interpretation is just because you have right-of-way, you must try to avoid collision even if the other skipper is at fault.

What was going on in both wheelhouses?

I speculate that the electronics on the ATTESSA IV cost more than any of the boats mentioned on this website--maybe not more than 35-foot Boston Whalers--and maybe even more than the pre-crash value of the PROWLER.

The Prowler has modern electronics, including radar, VHF and SSB radios. To be determined:

--was anybody was occupying either wheelhouse?

--were they awake?

--asleep?

I have 25 years and thousands of hours on the ocean, and I can attest to many instances where in an offshore, middle-of-nowhere-in-the-ocean location, I have been on a collision course with another boat. Where impact would be a certainty without collision avoidance maneuvering. So I'm not surprised two boats are on a collision course in such a big ocean.

BACKSTORY: I have been on the PROWLER several times. In the early 1980's I caught my first Bluefin Tuna, Albacore and Skipjack Tuna on the PROWLER. The typical trip is to leave San Diego around 10 p.m., travel 50 to 70 miles into Mexican waters overnight, wake up and fish from dawn until approximately 1 p.m., and return to the dock between 7 to 8:30 p.m.. This is called an Overnighter trip. The PROWLER can carry up to about 30 or more passengers.

All along the Southern California coast, there are landings which offer trips like this. Many landings are concentrated in San Diego because of the proximity to Mexican waters. The main landings are Fisherman's Landing, Point Loma Sportfishing, H&M Landing and Seaforth Landing. The PROWLER was at Fisherman's Landing for many years but under relatively new ownership is out of Seaforth.


Here is a link to a local news reports:
https://www.10news.com/news/10news-excl ... -of-impact
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Re: Cause of Collisions Between Boats Due to Failure to Maintain Proper Lookout

Postby Dutchman » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:22 pm

As almost always [the cause for a collision between two boats] comes down to [failure to maintain a proper] lookout.

[The helmsman of a vessel] cannot can't assume thousands of dollars equipment is working correctly.

And if [thousands of dollars of equipment were working properly] anybody on the two vessels in the wheelhouse should have seen [the risk of a collision] on the screens [of the equipment] if there wasn't any visibility.
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Re: Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby jimh » Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:31 pm

What was the visibility at the time and location of the collision? That was the time of day? What was the speed of the vessels?

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Re: unit of length measurement storey

Postby jimh » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:34 pm

msirof2001 wrote:...The ATTESSA IV is like a 22-storey building laying on its side


One storey is usually considered about 10-feet. The ATTESSA IV is said to be 332-feet long, so if the unit storey is to be used to describe her length wouldn't that be a 33-storey building?

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Re: Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby msirof2001 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:47 pm

jimh wrote:What was the visibility at the time and location of the collision? That was the time of day? What was the speed of the vessels?


The time was about 7:45pm last Friday (Oct 26). At this time of year, it is pitch-black nighttime. The passenger noted "fog and darkness". No report that I saw indicated visibility. Reports indicated a Helicopter rescue would tell me if there was enough visibility for the rescue, probably was enough visibility for the boats to see each-other - my speculation.

The PROWLER cruises at about 10 knots. As low as 8 knots and as high as 12 knots. This is consistent across the fleet of like-kind, like-purpose boats. By the way, in the Atlantic coast, these boats are called "Head-boats".

Unknown (to me) Attessa's speed at the time of the collision, or its capabilities. Also unknown to me the angle at which the Attessa hit the starboard side of the Prowler.

Location was about 9 miles off Imperial Beach, California. Imperial beach runs from the Mexican border Northward until the Coronado section of San Diego. Seaforth landing is in Mission Bay, near Sea World San Diego, not in San Diego Bay.

The Prowler was returning to port, headed for the Mission Bay entrance. Based on that description, the Prowler would have been barely north of the border, moving Northeast. Unsure of the Attessa's course. All of this explanation is my speculative dead-reckoning based on reported facts like where the collision reportedly took place and time reported. I don't think I'm too far off.
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Re: unit of measurement of ship length by using bullding measurements of storey

Postby msirof2001 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:52 pm

jimh wrote:
msirof2001 wrote:...The ATTESSA IV is like a 22-storey building laying on its side


One storey is usually considered about 10-feet. The ATTESSA IV is said to be 332-feet long, so if the unit storey is to be used to describe her length wouldn't that be a 33-storey building?


JimH- I looked at several sites on the internet and I saw both what you mention - 10 feet per story and also saw 15. The building I work in is closer to 15 feet per story so I went conservative with 15. Would not want to be hit by a 22 or 33 story building moving at some rate of speed.
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Re: AIS Track of ATTESSA IV

Postby jimh » Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:09 pm

The AIS track of ATTESSA IV as recorded by MARINETRAFFIC.COM shows that on 10-28-2018 she was making 13-knots on a course of 210-degrees, then about 0231-UTC she makes a sharp turn left to course 181-degress at 3-knots. Converting time and date to PDT, that would be October 27, 2018 at 1931 or 7:31 PDT. The position of the AIS course change is

Latitude 32° 31' 13.1" N
Longitude 118° 18' 04.7" W

The presumption is the abrupt speed and course change are related to the collision. After that time, the course is very erratic at speeds as low as 1-knot, until the ATTESSA IV heads back to San Diego at about 8-knots after 0600-UTC or 11 p.m.

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Re: Alternative AIS Track for ATTESSA IV

Postby msirof2001 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:15 am

I saw the track at https://www.myshiptracking.com/

The collision appears to have happened Friday, 10/26/2018 between 7:25 p.m, and 7:29 p.m. in Mexican waters. I put a trackline from the collision point to the Mission Bay entrance projecting Prowler's trajectory. My speculation is the Attessa hit the Prowler at the Prowler's 1 o'clock position on the Starboard side. With the Attessa doing 12.9-knots and Prowler probably 10-knots, the collision was almost head-on, but instead a hard swipe along the Starboard side. Wow.

I didn't mention earlier: a sport boats like the Prowler will have a lot of spreader lights that illuminate the rear deck. These boats are well lit up. Looking at the Attessa's trajectory relative to where I think the prowler was, the Attessa was in line, from the Prowler's perspective, with downtown San Diego which is very lit up. If it were foggy, the city lights may not have been a factor. If clear, then maybe the lights would have been a factor. Somewhat of a factor--but not an excuse. Still, RADAR and vigilance which should have overcome the lights.

For the Attessa, going 210 degrees, they were headed to the blackness of night, and the Prowler should have visually stuck out like a sore thumbly, assuming no fog. And [appeared] on RADAR, fog or otherwise.

Both boats should have had AIS and should have seen each other. I don't know the legal requirements for mandatory AIS.

Again, this is all speculation and dead-reckoning based on news accounts, vessel tracking sites, knowledge of the Prowler and San Diego fleet. It will be very interesting to see the official investigation outcome.
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Re: Right of Way

Postby porthole » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:00 am

msirof2001 wrote:right-of-way


There is no "right of way" on open waters. Only one specific situation on inland Lakes and rivers, and only certain lakes and rivers at that.

Rule 9
(ii) Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(i) and Rule 14(a), a power-driven vessel operating in narrow channels or fairways on the Great Lakes, Western Rivers, or waters specified by the Secretary, and proceeding downbound with a following current shall have the right-of-way over an upbound vessel, shall propose the manner and place of passage, and shall initiate the maneuvering signals prescribed by Rule 34(a)(i), as appropriate. The vessel proceeding upbound against the current shall hold as necessary to permit safe passing.

Rule 14
d) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this Rule, a power-driven vessel operating on the Great Lakes, Western Rivers, or waters specified by the Secretary, and proceeding downbound with a following current shall have the right-of-way over an upbound vessel, shall propose the manner of passage, and shall initiate the maneuvering signals prescribed by Rule 34(a)(i), as appropriate.
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Re: Difference between COLREGS and US Navigation Rules

Postby Jefecinco » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:38 am

Duane - How do COLREGS differ from our US Navigation Rules as to right of way? My understanding is that there is no such thing as "right of way" and that we have only "burdened" and "stand on" vessels. What are the demarcation lines between the COLREGS and US Navigation Rules? Was the collision far enough offshore for COLREGS to be applicable?
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Re: AIS Carriage

Postby jimh » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:01 am

Re mandatory AIS: the ATTESSA IV is Cayman Island registry. The PROWLER is USA registry

For navigation in USA water, the requirements for AIS are given at 33 CFR 164.46. This is mentioned in the Coast Guard NavCenter webpage at

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=A ... rementsRev

As often with federal regulations, exactly what they say is difficult to interpret.

The existence of a recorded AIS track for ATTESSA IV indicates that vessel was transmitting AIS.

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Re: COLREGS and US Navigation Rules; Right of Way

Postby porthole » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:43 am

Jefecinco wrote:Duane - How do COLREGS differ from our US Navigation Rules as to right of way? My understanding is that there is no such thing as "right of way" and that we have only "burdened" and "stand on" vessels. What are the demarcation lines between the COLREGS and US Navigation Rules? Was the collision far enough offshore for COLREGS to be applicable?



Perhaps using too generic an old school term such as COLREGs.
COLREGs (1972) derived from an international treaty of which independent countries incorporate the rules into their own versions.

The US version is specifically called:

Navigation Rules
International - Inland


Downloadable copies available from the USCG NAVCEN site at:

https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/navRules/navrules.pdf
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Re: Mandatory AIS

Postby msirof2001 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:33 pm

Regarding AIS-
§ 164.46 Automatic Identification System.
(b)AIS carriage -
(1)AIS Class A device. The following vessels must have on board a properly installed, operational Coast Guard type-approved AIS Class A device:
(i) A self-propelled vessel of 65 feet or more in length, engaged in commercial service.

The above would suggest the 65ft Prowler should have Class-A AIS. I know that very few Sport-boats of the Prowler's genre/type/purpose are visible to vessel tracking websites. Before AIS, the captains of these boats would operate in "code groups". Where they would communicate in code so others wouldn't know their positions. No sport-boat captain wants to publicly display where they are, where the fish are, where their secret spots are. AIS is potentially a big spoiler, displaying everything. I have seen sport-boats on the water, and have seen their AIS signature on my GPS (Simrad NSS-16 EVO-3), but I couldn't find them on the vessel tracking sites when I got home and onto my computer. I would speculate Prowler was using / broadcasting AIS, especially while in transit but somehow invisible to these websites. Attessa's electronics should have picked up Prowler's AIS. My opinion.
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Re: PROWLER Not Found in ITU Database

Postby jimh » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:37 pm

msirof2001 wrote:...the following vessels must have on board a properly installed, operational Coast Guard type-approved AIS Class A device:
(i) A self-propelled vessel of 65 feet or more in length, engaged in commercial service...


There are some exemptions that affect that statement, particularly for fishing vessels. If the PROWLER was transmitting an AIS broadcast, it should have shown up in one of the monitoring services, assuming the vessel name transmitted was "PROWLER."

I searched the ITU international database of SHIP STATIONS by using the vessel name "PROWLER" and the administration area as "USA." There are about eight or so vessels in that database and about four of them are "fishing vessels" but none of them seem to be the vessel PROWLER that was involved in this collision.

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Re: RADAR

Postby jimh » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:37 am

According to unofficial accounts of the collision between the ATTESSA IV and PROWLER, both boats were equipped with RADAR. Any watchstander on either boat should have been getting a RADAR return target from the other boat. As DUTCH mentioned earlier, at this point the cause of the collision appears to be a mutual failure of both boats to maintain a proper lookout.

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Re: Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby porthole » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:49 am

Many years ago I attended a RADAR awareness course at the Maritime Academy in New York. The course was based on military shipboard RADAR and the beginnings and application of RADAR. One thing that stood out then was the phrase "RADAR assisted collision", using several New York Bight collisions as examples.

The infamous sinking of the Andrea Doria, which was struck by the Stockholm is the first "official" RADAR assisted collision.
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Re: Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby jimh » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:28 pm

Having some familiarity with the circumstances of the ANDRIA DORIA and its collision with the STOCKHOLM, the role of RADAR in the situation was a result of an error in interpretation of the RADAR returns. The ships were approaching each other on nearly parallel courses and in heavy fog. Each ship thought they determined that the other ship had made a course alteration by observing their RADAR display. Based on what they thought they observed, each ship then altered course. Unfortunately, the course alterations resulted in the two ships having a crossing course, with the STOCKHOLM bow raming the ANDRIA DORIA in the forward half of the hull--nearly a T-bone situation. By the time the errors in course calculations became obvious, the size and mass of the two ships prevented them for effecting further course change to avoid the collision. Aggravating the situation was the STOCKHOLM was rated for ice and had a very heavily reinforced bow. The STOCKHOLM inflicted substantial damage to the ANDRIA DORIA when she stuck her, resulting in the ANDRIA DORIA eventually capsizing and sinking. Damage to the STOCKHOLM was much less and she was able to sail away. Also the closing speed of the two ocean liners was greater than 40-nautical-miles-per hour or 46-MPH.

I don't know that incorrect interpretation of RADAR played a role in the collision of the ATTESSA IV and PROWLER. We must await more details. At this moment, we have no idea if they were even observing their RADAR set return echoes. Also, I do not think their closing speed was close to 46-MPH. The ATTESSA IV was making about 13-knots or 15-MPH, and it is very unlikely that the PROWLER would have been underway at 31-MPH. Also, these two much smaller ships are much more maneuverable than two ocean liners, so if either had actually observed the other, either by RADAR or by sight, there could have been time to make a course change to avoid collision.

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Re: Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby msirof2001 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:30 pm

I have been on the Prowler several times, and can add this information. The Prowler does in fact have radar. However, I cannot attest as to what zoom-level it was set to, whether anybody was looking at it, or whether anybody was even in the wheelhouse, etc. I wasn't on the Prowler that night. I looked at pictures of the Attessa before and after the collision and I saw she has a very large open array radar antenna. Like with the Prowler, I'm unaware of whether it was on, what level of zoom, whether anybody was in the wheelhouse, etc.

I can also attest to the fact that the Prowler cruises between 9 and 11-nautical-miles-per-hour. Fuel is a high cost and being a for-profit business, the Prowler and many others in the sportfishing fleet in the same line of business have figured out that about 10-nautical-miles-per-hour is the sweet-spot intersection between getting to and from the fishing grounds giving the paying passengers enough time to fish in the desired locations while minimizing fuel costs.

JimH, you and I both used vessel tracking websites and saw the track of the Attessa which showed it travelling at 13 knots travelling on a course of 210 degrees. Remember, the Prowler was travelling back to port, and home port isn't San Diego. Home port is Mission Bay which is north of San Diego. I did a screen capture of the vessel tracking site and drew a line from where the Attessa suddenly altered course to the Mission Bay harbor entrance. This had the Prowler travelling just East of due North, my estimation about 15 degrees. My estimation then is the two boats came at each-other 210-degrees 13-knots [and] 015-degrees at 10-knots, or almost head-on with Attessa coming at the Prowler at about the 1 o'clock position.

Also, when looking at the vessel tracking site, Attessa would be in line with the downtown San Diego's lights. Visual clutter but not significant on radar.
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Re: Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby porthole » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:20 pm

jimh wrote:was a result of an error in interpretation of the RADAR returns.



Hence the moniker "RADAR assisted collision"

And I have some familiarity as well with the AD :-)

Returning from my first visit to the site.

Doria_Dive_up 478.jpg
Doria_Dive_up 478.jpg (29.01 KiB) Viewed 4552 times
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Re: Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby jimh » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:49 pm

Contributing to the notoriety of the ANDRIA DORIA sinking was the relatively close-to-shore position that enabled newsreel cameramen to fly out in small planes and record the event on film, and for that film to be processed and shown on American television the same day in the largest television market, New York City, and on network newscasts coast to coast.

A good trivia question might be: What was the name of the other ship in the ANDRIA DORIA collision and sinking. I would suspect that the answer (STOCKHOLM) is not widely known. Although perhaps today, if you asked anyone under 60-years-old, they probably would have never heard of the ANDRIA DORIA, unless they were a ship buff or boat nerd (or a sport diver).

PORT'--I presume the wreck must not be too deep--unless you happen to have been one of a small cadre of really high-technology and high-risk sport divers.

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Re: Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby porthole » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:19 am

jimh wrote:Contributing to the notoriety of the ANDRIA DORIA sinking was the relatively close-to-shore position that enabled newsreel cameramen to fly out in small planes and record the event on film, and for that film to be processed and shown on American television the same day in the largest television market, New York City, and on network newscasts coast to coast.



Also contributing was diver-underwater filmmaker Peter Gimbel, who dove on the wreck the next day and had his underwater photos in Life Magazine the next month.

Life_mag_Doria.jpg
Life_mag_Doria.jpg (58.79 KiB) Viewed 4494 times


jimh wrote:
I presume the wreck must not be too deep--unless you happen to have been one of a small cadre of really high-technology and high-risk sport divers.




The wreck is in 250 FSW
I am neither a really high tech diver or a high risk sport diver.
But I am a capable diver and I strictly follow my regiment of "plan your dive - dive your plan"


Time to make a Doria thread?

Another good trivia question is what was the most unusual survivor story?
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Re: Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby jimh » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:05 pm

DUANE--I know the answer to your trivia question. Check your PM inbox.

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Re: Offshore Collision At Sea: Attessa IV and Prowler

Postby jimh » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:02 pm

Back to the collision between the PROWLER and the ATTESSA IV: by some estimates, the collision may have occurred in the territorial waters of Mexico. I am no expert of Admiralty Law in the USA, let alone in Mexico, so I don't know what influence the actual location of the collision will have on any future legal proceedings between the ship owners, the ship crews, and the passengers on either ship.

The location of the collision, if indeed it did not occur in the territorial waters of the USA, might have some influence on the possibility of an investigation into the collision being conducted by the USCG or the NTSB.

Since the collision, further information has been sparse.