An investigation determined that the skipper had not planned the vessel’s passage properly and was distracted by a mobile phone call
An investigation into why a fishing vessel sank in Lerwick Harbour has concluded that the skipper, Neil King, was at fault after he was distracted by a mobile phone call while changing course.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch report comes after the twin-rig stern trawler sank on 5 August last year.
Prospect’s hull was penetrated when the vessel became grounded on rocks at the north entrance of the harbour, causing the fish hold to immediately flood.
The pumps were unable to cope with the amount of water entering the boat and after floating free from the rocks, she sank.
Shetland port’s watch keeper had attempted to warn the skipper on two occasions but the volume on the on board radio was too low to be heard.
The report said: “Prospect grounded because the skipper became distracted and lost positional awareness due to a telephone conversation and his decision to check whether an email had been received during the departure from Lerwick.
“The skipper did not effectively monitor Prospect’s passage after making a course alteration to put Skibby Baas beacon fine on the port bow, and in particular gave insufficient consideration to the potential influence of the tidal stream that was setting the vessel towards Skibby Baas.”
The local lifeboat rescued the skipper and three crewmen shortly after the boat became grounded.
Four attempts were made to salvage the vessel declared a constructive total loss and she was finally recovered on 22 August last year.