Grounding and loss of fishing vessel Coelleira

Location: Off the Shetland Islands, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 8/2020

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

MAIB investigation report 8-2020: Coelleira

Fishing vessel Coelleira aground on Ve Skerries


At about 0124 on 4 August 2019, the Spanish owned UK registered fishing vessel Coelleira grounded on Ve Skerries, a low-lying reef off the west coast of the Shetland Islands, Scotland, while on passage to land its catch in Scrabster, Scotland. The vessel immediately listed to port and its 15 crew were evacuated by the coastguard rescue helicopter. Attempts to salvage Coelleira were unsuccessful and the vessel broke up and sank. There were no injuries and, although the vessel was carrying about 15 tonnes of diesel oil, there was no significant pollution.

Safety Issues

  • the passage from the fishing grounds to Scrabster was not properly planned and the vessel’s position was not being closely monitored

  • an effective lookout was not maintained, and the bridge was unmanned at the time of the grounding

  • the judgment and performance of the skipper, who was on watch at the time of the grounding, might have been adversely affected by fatigue

  • the performance and set-up of electronic navigation equipment available in the wheelhouse adversely affected the skipper’s ability to monitor the vessel’s position and identify navigational hazards


A recommendation (2020/117) has been made to Blue Pesca Limited, Coelleira’s owner, aimed at improving watchkeeping practices and enhancing the safety on any vessel it owns in the future.

A safety flyer to the fishing industry highlighting a number of the safety lessons was produced for this report.

MAIB report 7/2014 - Grounding of twin-rig stern trawler Prospect and subsequent sinking while under tow

MAIB report 12/2016 - Grounding of passenger cruise ship Hamburg

MAIB report 11/2017 - Grounding of passenger vessel Royal Iris of the Mersey

MSN 1884 ILO work in fishing convention working time

MGN 313 (F) Keeping a safe navigational watch on fishing vessels

Published 20 March 2020