Grounding and sinking of crabber Our Nicholas

Location: Near entrance to Stornoway Harbour, Scotland.

Accident Investigation Report 26/2002

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

our-nicholas.pdf (252.76 kb)


At about 0424 (UTC + 1) on 24 July 2001, the crabber, Our Nicholas, grounded near the entrance to Stornoway harbour. The vessel foundered quickly and the four crew members were rescued by two passing fishing vessels.

Safety Issues

  • both of the deckhands on watch fell asleep and allowed the vessel to continue on passage, unmonitored, until Our Nicholas went aground
  • the cause of the foundering was that the vessel was taken astern off the grounding site into deeper water, and the damage was so severe that she sank very quickly
  • a pin in the EPIRB was found to not have been soldered in place during manufacture, causing the 406 MHz beacon to be under-powered
  • the liferaft’s inflation gas pressure was not sufficient to release the liferaft from its canister probably because of a previously undetected leakage


Safety recommendations have been addressed to the owners with regard to keeping a safe navigational watch, installing a watch alarm and regularly testing EPIRBs on any vessels they own, now and in the future.

This report was published in August 2002.

Published 23 January 2015