Capsize and sinking of twin-rig prawn trawler Jubilee Star

Location: Near Cowal buoy off Dunoon, Scotland

Completed PE Summary: Jubilee Star

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name:   Jubilee Star
Vessel Owner:   Private owner
Port of Registry:   Belfast
Flag:   UK
Type:   Twin-rig prawn trawler
Built:   1976 in Bangor, Northern Ireland
Construction:   Wood
Length overall:   13.79m
Date & Time:   11/02/2009 1400 UTC
Location of incident:   Near Cowal buoy off Dunoon
Incident Type:   Capsize and foundering
Persons onboard:   3
Injuries/fatalities:   Mild hypothermia
Damage/pollution:   Total loss of vessel/minor


The twin-rig trawler, Jubilee Star, had been fishing for prawns in the Clyde Estuary when her fishing gear became snagged on an underwater obstruction. The crew made a number of unsuccessful attempts to free the gear by shortening in and then shooting away. When the gear was finally shot away and the brakes had been applied, the vessel swung to port and water came over the port quarter bulwark. The vessel then rapidly capsized to port. While the vessel was heeling, the crew scrambled over the starboard side and entered the water. They were not wearing lifejackets.

People ashore alerted Clyde Coastguard, which issued a “Mayday Relay” and began to allocate resources. The skipper of a nearby trawler, Guide Me, saw the capsized vessel, hauled in his gear and proceeded to the scene, requesting another vessel to inform the coastguard of his actions.

Meanwhile, Jubilee Star foundered by the stern, after which the liferaft released automatically. The three crew members managed to reach the liferaft and await rescue. Soon afterwards, Guide Me picked them up and took them to Dunoon, where they were conveyed to the local hospital. They were released later that afternoon after being treated for mild hypothermia.

Action taken

The Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to Jubilee Star’s owner urging him to:

  • Heed the advice given in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s MGN 265 The Hazards Associated with Trawling, Including Beam Trawling and Scallop Dredging, paying particular attention to section 5 concerning the recovery of fouled gear; and

  • Acquaint himself with the general advice given in Marine Notices on the safe operation of fishing vessels.

He has also written to Guide Me’s skipper:

Commending him on his endeavour to rescue the crew from Jubilee Star, thereby preventing possible fatalities, but strongly advising him that, if he finds himself in a similar position again, he should inform the coastguard immediately and directly of his intentions.

Published: March 2009

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