The investigation was conducted following the death of a 12-year-old girl, Tara, from The Hague during a sailing camp on a boat in Harlingen, a harbor city in Friesland. The fatal incident occurred in late August, and the inspection of the ships was conducted last week.
The girl was killed when the boom, the bottom wooden piece holding the sail, of the ship broke apart and fell. The Dutch Safety Board concluded that the boom broke due to wood rot. The girl’s parents have stated publicly that they hold the shipping company responsible for their daughter’s death.
According to NOS, a similar incident claimed the lives of three German tourists near Harlingen in 2016, as well as an employee at a wharf in Zaandam in 2019.
The “brown fleet” consists of hundreds of historic freight sailing ships used for professional passenger transport in the Netherlands. Most of the ships are active in the IJsselmeer, the Markermeer and the Wadden Sea.
The name refers to the original color of the sails the ships used, which was brown. The ships are typically flat-bottomed boats for inland freight transport by water, and include tjalks, klippers, aaks, schoeners, steilsteven and botters.