Capsize and sinking of side trawler Pescalanza with loss of 6 lives

Location: 82 miles south-west of Mizen Head, Republic of Ireland.

Accident Investigation Report: Pescalanza

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

pescalanza.pdf (569.30 kb)


On 2 November 1998 Pescalanza (PZ 744), a Spanish owned 32 metre fishing vessel, was 82 miles south-west of Mizen Head in Ireland. The vessel was fishing when it capsized and sank in the rough seas. 12 people were on board; six were recovered alive by another fishing vessel, along with four deceased. Two persons were not found.

Safety Issues

  • the entrapment of water on board during net retrieval operations when the vessel was most vulnerable and beam on to the sea
  • it is probable that water was trapped between the shelter deck and the main deck on the port side and downflooded through an open door to the engine room


A recommendation has been made to the vessel’s managers to advise all skippers of fishing vessels under its management of the importance of keeping weathertight doors closed, except when used for access, and point out that vessels, where the buoyancy effects of shelters have been considered when assessing stability, may not comply with stability requirements if certain weathertight doors are left open when at sea.

This report was published in April 1999.

Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2015