Capsize and sinking of pair trawler Meridian while on guard ship duties with loss of 4 lives

Location: 160nm east of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 20/2007

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken and subsequent recommendations:

MeridianReport.pdf (2,817.86 kb)

Annexes (2,040.75 kb)


Loss of the fishing vessel Meridian KY147 with the loss of four crew, 160nm due east of Aberdeen on 26 October 2006.

Safety Issues

We concluded that the accident was almost certainly brought about by a combination of several factors, and a most probable loss scenario was formed. It is considered likely that as Meridian attempted to turn in the prevailing heavy weather conditions, she experienced synchronous rolling as she came beam on to the seas. With each roll angle getting larger, waves began depositing more and more water on deck. This then probably initiated a capsizing moment, and major flooding followed as she lay heeled over and became damaged by the force of the waves. She would have fully capsized and foundered a short time later.


Recommendations have been made to SFF Services Ltd to ensure that the lessons from this accident are included in future safety briefings to guard ship skippers and to ensure that, in future, guard ships are furnished with good quality long range weather forecasts. In addition, we have published a 2-page flyer, highlighting the accident and advising and reminding fishermen of the dangers of operating in heavy weather and the precautions to take, including gaining the best early warning of worsening weather.

This report was published on 4 September 2007.

Published 23 January 2015