Flooding, engine failure and grounding of refrigerated cargo vessel Green Lily with loss of 1 life during rescue

Location: Off Shetland Islands, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 5/1999

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

green- lily-pub-1999.pdf (4,514.12 kb)


On the 19 November 1997 refrigerated cargo vessel Green Lily grounded off the East Coast of Bressay, Shetland Islands, Scotland. The vessel had suffered flooding and main engine failure during heavy weather. The ship’s crew were rescued but a helicopter winchman was swept into the sea and lost.

Safety Issues

The cause of the grounding was the lack of propulsion and failure to restart the main engine to arrest the drift of the vessel towards the shore in the prevailing environmental conditions. Contributory causes included flooding of the engine room, failure to reset the mechanical over-speed trip, inadequate knowledge of the cooling water system, failure of towage attempts and inadequate teamwork.


Recommendations are aimed at improving operational teamwork and the probability of effecting a successful tow in similar circumstances.

This report was published on 11 August 1999.

Published 23 January 2015