Flooding and sinking of under 12m fishing vessel Speedwell with loss of 1 life

Location: Firth of Lorn, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 1/2014

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

Speedwell.pdf (2,368.04 kb)


On 25 April 2013 fishing vessel Speedwell foundered in the Firth of Lorn, Scotland. An extensive search commenced but despite debris sighted, Speedwell was not located on the seabed until a month later. The vessel was upright and intact in a depth of 83m. The skipper’s body has not been found.

Safety lessons

  • Speedwell probably sank as a result of water ingress through an unsealed and unsecured flush deck hatch leading to the vessel’s aft store
  • the bilge pump and bilge alarm in the aft store were not working
  • single-handed operation of the vessel seriously compromised the skipper’s ability to deal with the situation encountered
  • the skipper did not contact the coastguard until very shortly before the vessel sank
  • lifesaving equipment was out of date, had not been serviced and was not used


A recommendation (2014/101) has been made to the owner of Speedwell that is intended to help ensure that any vessel he may own in the future is operated safely.

Published: 8 January 2014

Published 23 January 2015