Flooding and sinking of twin-rig trawler Evening Star

Location: 26 miles east of Peterhead, Scotland.

Completed PE Summary: Evening Star

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Registered Owner & Manager:   Seaward Trawl Management
Port of registry:   Buckie
Flag:   UK
Type:   Twin rig trawler
Built:   1983
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   20.6m
Gross tonnage:   38.5
Date & Time   27/7/07, 15:30
Location of incident:   26 miles east of Peterhead
Incident Type:   Foundering
Persons onboard:   4
Injuries/ fatalities:   None
Damage/ Pollution:   Slight


The fishing vessel Evening Star foundered some 26 miles east of Peterhead after initial flooding of a void space in the vessels stern. It is unclear where the source of ingress was, but gradually a disused fuel tank, used as a void space, filled with seawater as the vessel steamed for harbour at 6 knots. As the void filled with water the vessel took a severe stern trim and listed to starboard. The stern trim was exacerbated by the fact that during her 6 day fishing trip fuel was first taken from the forward, rather than the aft fuel tanks, contrary to guidance in the vessels stability book. Also, fishing during the trip had been poor resulting in a lack of weight in the fishroom forward, which also increased stern trim.The vessel had been granted a 20% dispensation allowing a reduction in her aft freeboard, on condition that the aft fuel tanks remained void; this freeboard deficiency left little margin for anomalies in her trim.

The skipper recognised that the vessel was listing and attempted to drain the water from the tank and then pump it overboard. Unfortunately, the main bilge pump did not function correctly, drawing air somewhere in the bilge line. An emergency electrical submersible pump was then used, but this failed soon after being started, leaving the skipper with no option but to call the Coastguard for assistance. Whilst awaiting the delivery of a salvage pump from the SAR services the vessel trimmed further by the stern, as water found its way into the vessel through vents in the main deck watertight bulkhead. The vessel then adopted an angle of loll, forcing the crew to abandon to a liferaft. Soon after, the vessel sank. The crew were all rescued safely by helicopter.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the vessel’s skipper/owner recommending that he attend an SFIA one day Intermediate Fishing Vessel Stability Awareness Course, which is offered freely by Group Training Organisations throughout the UK

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