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NOS News•today, 13:51
The municipality of Harlingen wants to quickly discuss safety with the skippers and operators of historic sailing ships. Yesterday, a 13-year-old girl was killed on one such ship when she was hit by a boom. And that was not the first fatal accident.
“We can no longer say that this was an incident,” says mayor Ina Sjerps van Harlingen at Omrop Fryslân. “We love our brown fleet, but it has to be safe.”
Yesterday’s accident on the charter vessel Risk is the third in a row. In 2016, three people died in an accident on the historic sailing ship Amicitia in Harlingen. Three months ago, a man died after an accident on the charter ship Wilhelmina, which also has Harlingen as its home port.
“They are beautiful ships that are very important and determine our image,” said the mayor. “But we need to talk to the board of the organization behind the brown fleet.”
Mast falls over due to wood rot
The cause of yesterday’s accident is not yet clear. At the Amicitia a mast toppled due to wood rot. The skipper was prosecuted for wrongful death, but acquitted because according to the court it could not be proven that it was his fault.
The investigation into the cause of the accident on the Wilhelmina earlier this year is still ongoing.
The investigation into yesterday’s accident has only just begun. “Is it something mechanical perhaps?” the Harling mayor wonders. “The skippers are known to maintain their ships very well. We also need to know whether the inspections and checks of the ships are good enough.”
The Risk has been seized for further investigation, a police spokesperson said. He is also unable to say anything about the possible cause. “We are still investigating. At the moment we are hearing witnesses and looking for images of the incident.”
loss and sadness
The 13-year-old girl belonged to a group of students at Dalton College, a secondary school in The Hague. “It started as a nice working week on a sunny day, it ends in the worst imaginable”, says the mayor of The Hague Jan van Zanen at Omroep West.
Rector Katrien van de Gevel writes on the website of her school: “Our thoughts are with the family, the family, the classmates, friends and girlfriends. We will use the coming days to give the loss and sadness a place together. .”
The charter vessel Risk is owned by shipping company Vooruit from Harlingen. An employee doesn’t say much. “We are very sad and very sorry for the family,” she said. “We are very upset.”