Infographic: European tug casualties, 2004-14




Safety & Security


11 March 2015
This infographic details fatal tug accidents from 2004-14. Copyright: IHS Maritime

While IHS Maritime casualty data records 197 tug incidents in Europe in 2004-14, tugs have a better safety record than some other merchant ship types. Only 19 of the 196 recorded incidents were severe enough to result in the vessel’s total loss.

In this time period, six serious incidents have caused 17 fatalities. But two tragedies – the losses of 2007 of Bourbon Dolphin and the Flying Phantom – accounted for 11 of these 17 deaths. In both cases, a significant factor in the capsixing and subsequent sinking of these tugs was ‘girting’: a well-publicised hazard of tugs of being pulled over by the towlines attaching them to the vessel they are assisting.

Similarly, Fairplay-22 capsized in 2010 off Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands when it was run over by the ferry to which it was attempting to attach a towline. This incident left two dead but the tug was later refloated, repaired and returned to service.

Fatal tug accidentsFatal tug accidents

Casualty type and incidents by regionCasualty type and incidents by region

Incidents per year