Coelleira skipper’s judgment may have been affected by fatigue

The skipper in charge of a fishing boat which grounded on the Ve Skerries west of Shetland may have been too tired at the time of the incident.

The Coelleira ran into grief at the Ve Skerries last August. Photo: Sydney Sinclair

That is the ruling of a report into the grounding of the Coelleira which came to grief in the early hours of one morning in August last year.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published findings on the incident involving the Spanish-owned vessel, which was on passage to land her catch at Scrabster in Caithness when the incident happened.

The MAIB has made a recommendation to the Coelliera‘s owners Blue Pesca Limited, aimed at improving watch-keeping practices and enhancing the safety on any vessel it owns in the future.

The report also stated:

• The passage from the fishing grounds to Scrabster was not properly planned and the vessel’s position was not being closely monitored;

• An effective lookout was not maintained, and the bridge was unmanned at the time of the grounding;

• The performance and set-up of electronic navigation equipment available in the wheelhouse “adversely affected” the skipper’s ability to monitor the ship’s position and identify navigational hazards.

The Coelleira grounded at around 1.24am on 4th August. The vessel immediately listed to port and her 15 crew were evacuated by the Sumburgh-based coastguard rescue helicopter.

Attempts to salvage the boat were unsuccessful and she broke up and sank.

There were no injuries and, although the vessel was carrying about 15 tonnes of diesel oil, the report stated there was no significant pollution.


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