Flooding and sinking of twin-rig stern trawler Aurelia

Location: 78 miles west of St Kilda, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 40/2002

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

aurelia.pdf (549.17 kb)


The UK-registered, twin-rig stern trawler Aurelia, sank 78 miles west of St Kilda, at approximately 0015 on 13 August 2001.

Safety Issues

  • the bilge alarm did not operate when the engine room flooded. Thus, the sea water ingress into the engine room went unnoticed until it was at a dangerously high level
  • control of the sea water ingress into the engine room was lost, because the main sea water suction valve was rendered inaccessible, because it was submerged, so could not be closed


One recommendation has been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for it to advise owners, operators, and builders of fishing vessels to take into account that flooding of the engine room can lead to rapid submersion and, hence, inaccessibility of the sea inlet and discharge valves.

This report was published in December 2002.

Published 23 January 2015