Mortality from boom decline: Better control of historic sailing vessels is needed

Mortality from boom decline: Better control of historic sailing vessels is needed

The investigation was prompted by two fatal accidents involving two separate sailing ships in 2022. A 79-year-old man died in May, and a 12-year-old girl died at the end of August. In both cases, the ship’s boom fell on the victims. The boom is the horizontal spar on the mast to which the bottom of the sail cloth is attached.

Outsourcing is supervised

Despite previous recommendations to improve brown fleet safety, supervision remains inadequate. OVV concludes after searching. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) is responsible for supervising historic sailing ships, but in reality inspection agencies are outsourced. “There is a lot of room for interpretation of laws and regulations, agencies are not well equipped to do their job, and captains and owners are not taking sufficient responsibility.”

On the other hand, skippers and owners with safety guarantees cannot prove this to consumers, says the OVV organization, which had already expressed its criticism in 2017 after the death of three Germans in a similar accident.

12-year-old Tara died on August 31 in an accident during a school trip on the Wadden Sea. The boom suddenly broke off the boat and landed on Tara. Shortly after the accident, OVV concluded that the boom breakage was due to wood rot.

A day after the accident, her school principal spoke about Tara, who died in an accident:

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