Fire and abandonment of seiner/trawler Be Ready

Location: 30 miles north-west of the Orkney Islands, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 30/2000

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons and recommendations made:

be ready.pdf (1,461.81 kb)


This reports the MAIB’s investigation into the fire on board the fishing vessel Be Ready while fishing 30 miles north-west of the Orkney Islands, Scotland on 22 January 2000. At about 0215 on the Saturday morning, 22 January, the vessel was trawling slowly in a north-easterly direction, when the mate, who was on watch, discovered a fire in the galley. The skipper and crew were called and gathered in the wheelhouse, passing the galley on their way. Although all saw the fire through the open galley door, nobody shut the A60 fire door. A short abortive attempt was made to fight the fire, but by that time the accommodation itself was starting to burn. Having realised that the fire was beyond their control, Be Ready’s crew launched both liferafts. With the vessel still going slowly ahead, both liferafts were lost when they became entangled with the trawl wires aft. The crew of five then moved forward and waited for the rescue vessels, maintaining contact via a hand-held VHF set. Weather conditions were force 8, rough seas with wintry showers.

The fishing vessel Mizpah was first on scene, followed by the helicopter. The helicopter tried twice to get a Hi-line aboard, but conditions were too bad. Mizpah then made two close passes, bow to bow, managing on the second attempt to pass a line connected to a liferaft to the casualty. Once the liferaft was alongside the bow, the crew entered the liferaft using a rope ladder over the starboard side. With all five aboard, they moved away from the burning vessel and were then lifted into the helicopter and taken to Lerwick hospital for a check-up. Apart from minor burns and bruises, there were no injuries.

The galley fire is thought to have been caused by a drying cloth hung above a hot heating element on the cooker. Once alight, and fanned by strong draught from an open window into the starboard side shelter deck and an open door on the port side, the fire rapidly gained strength and entered the accommodation.

Recommendations were made to the Be Ready Fishing Co Ltd and the MCA.

Published: 29 September 2000

Published 23 January 2015