Flooding of beam trawler Marie Claire

Location: Off the Isles of Scilly.

Completed PE Summary: Marie Claire

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Fishing Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Marie Claire
Registered Owner/Manager W Stevenson & Sons
Port of Registry Penzance
Flag UK
Type Trawler
Built 1946
Construction Wood
Length Overall 29.85m
Gross Tonnage 157
Date/Time 09/07/2005, 0911
Location of Incident 49°59.4N 006°10.9W
Incident Type Flooding
Persons Onboard 4 crew
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution None


During fishing operations in near gale force winds, the 60 year old, wooden hulled, beam trawler’s engine room bilge alarm sounded. The crew were unable to gain suction on the bilge pumps and stem the inflow of water. The skipper called the coastguard, and a rescue helicopter later landed a portable pump on board, after which the vessel returned safely to her home port.

Several days later, while the fishing vessel was on passage back to her home port to rectify faults, the engine room bilge alarm activated, and again the crew were unable to stem the ingress of water. The skipper called the coastguard and, later, a lifeboat placed a portable pump on board. The water was pumped out, after which the vessel completed the passage to her home port.

Ingress of water was through hull leakage, and the ability to stem the rising level of water was due to lack of engineers’ familiarisation of the bilge system.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the owners of the vessel to advise that:

  • Familiarisation training procedures are introduced to ensure all fishermen, who take up engineering duties, are fully conversant with the bilge pumping system on the vessels on which they serve.

  • All bilge lines and valves on the company’s vessels are marked and/or labelled to provide ready identification to those carrying out engineering duties.

The two skippers were commended for calling the coastguard promptly.

Published 23 January 2015