Fire and sinking of fishing vessel Ocean Harvest II

Location: Approximately 25 miles off Kilkeel, Northern Ireland.

Completed PE Summary: Ocean Harvest II

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Registered Owner & Manager:   Mr C Campbell
Port of registry:   Newry
Flag:   UK
Type:   Fish Catching
Built:   1972
Construction:   Wood
Length overall:   20.66
Gross tonnage:   96.00
Date & Time   07/03/06 12:13
Location of incident:   Foreign waters 5345.8N 00528.8W
Incident Type:   Fire/Explosion
Persons onboard:   5 crew
Injuries/ fatalities:   None
Damage/ Pollution:   Ship lost/No Pollution


The 20 metre wooden hulled fishing vessel Ocean Harvest II was trawling approximately 25 miles off its home port of Kilkeel in Northern Ireland when at 1200 UTC the skipper smelt smoke. He immediately investigated and discovered smoke but no flames, in the mess room and then high up in the engine space and he alerted the 4 sleeping crew members.

Within seconds the fire took hold and the skipper and crew only just had time to broadcast a hurried distress call and abandon the vessel.

The five men were rescued by helicopter after 45 minutes in the life raft. The vessel continued to burn until she sank at 1655 UTC.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector has written to the vessel’s owners commenting on the efficiency of the crew’s abandonment from the vessel. He also gave strong advice concerning regularly testing the insulation of electric cabling on board their vessels and ensuring that all their crews undertake the statutory safety training.

The Chief Inspector has also written to the MCA recommending that it:

  • reminds the fishing industry of the requirement to ensure that all new entrants complete safety and survival training and, in this respect, that courses should be provided that are suitable for those that do not have English as their first language.

  • requires the regular testing of electrical insulation on fishing vessels.

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