At about 1750 on 18 January 2018, the prawn trawler Nancy Glen (TT100) capsized and later sank in Lower Loch Fyne, Scotland. Weather conditions were benign, and rescuers were quickly at the scene; however, only one of the three crew survived.
Nancy Glen was trawling at the time of the accident and the combined effect of a turn to starboard at the same time as the starboard net filling with mud caused the vessel to rapidly heel to starboard, then capsize. Through life modifications to the vessel had reduced its stability, increasing its vulnerability to capsize.
Realising the seriousness of the situation, one crewman dashed to escape. However, the darkness, disorientation, rapid nature of the capsize event and inrush of water to the wheelhouse will have denied the other two crew members the opportunity to escape.
It is critical that fishing vessels have sufficient stability to meet their operating profile. Nancy Glen’s stability was insufficient to overcome the circumstances of a net digging into the seabed concurrently with the vessel turning.
Recent modifications to Nancy Glen had a detrimental effect on the vessel’s stability but no checks had been carried out to assess the effect on stability.
Although voluntary guidance was available, there was no mandatory requirement for owners of small fishing vessels to carry out stability assessments.
A safety recommendation (2019/109) has been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to ensure that the stability of all fishing vessels under 15m is assessed and regularly reviewed.