POOR training and lack of communication contributed to an incident in which a tug capsized in Southampton Water.

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch report says the Asterix flipped over off Fawley refinery in March last year as it helped a small chemical tanker to manoeuvre.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Asterix's deckhand escaped from the upturned hill and was rescued almost immediately.

However, the coxswain was trapped inside the partially-flooded wheelhouse for more than an hour before the launch began to roll upright, when he was sighted and pulled from the water.

Both men were treated for shock and hypothermia but were released from hospital within hours of the accident.

The report says Asterix's coxswain was not warned that the tanker, Donizetti, was about to move forward and was thus unable to manoeuvre the launch effectively as the larger vessel increased speed.

It adds: "Donizett's master, the pilot and Asterix's coxwswain did not share a detailed understanding of the plan and once the operation commenced opportunities were missed for key information to be exchanged.

Solent Towage Ltd's risk assessments, procedural instructions and guidance, and in-house training relating to launch towing operations lacked the necessary detail."

The report says the incorrect use of an item of equipment known as a gog rope contributed to the accident.

It says: "It is evident that Asterix’s coxswain was not sufficiently trained or experienced to use the gog rope to best effect, or to make an early assessment that an extremely hazardous situation was developing.

"With additional controls in place, such as effective proactive communications between the pilot and Asterix’s coxswain, the risk of girting (capsizing) could have been reduced.

"Donizetti’s pilot relied on tug masters and launch coxswains to act autonomously and to inform him when in doubt or difficulty. This practice appears to have diminished the value he placed on proactive and detailed communication.

"Asterix’s coxswain and deckhand showed a low perception of risk, which delayed their response to the developing situation.

"This is likely to have been influenced by the routine nature of the towage operation, and by the use of a gog rope for every tow.

"Asterix’s coxswain did not anticipate the potential danger of girting and the need to communicate his concerns to the pilot at an earlier stage."

Solent Towage Ltd declined to comment on the report's findings.