Engine failure, grounding and loss of long liner Spinningdale

Location: Village Bay, St Kilda, Scotland.

Completed PE Summary: Spinningdale

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Fishing Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel name Spinningdale
Manager Penfro Peche, Milford Haven
Ship Owner Burlort Ltd
Port of Registry Fleetwood
Flag UK
Type Long liner
Built 1968
Construction Steel
Length Overall 23.24m
Gross Tonnage 169
Date/Time 01/02/2008, 0500 (UTC)
Location of Incident Village Bay, St Kilda
Incident Type Grounding
Persons Onboard 14 crew
Injuries/Fatalities 4 crew suffered hypothermia and 1 crew broke fingers
Damage/Pollution Constructive total loss of vessel/8 tonnes of fuel oil pollution


Spinningdale’s main engine stopped at a critical time whilst she was sheltering from severe weather conditions in the lee of St Kilda. Tidal effects and violent changes in wind direction caused the vessel to drift onto rocks soon after losing power.

DSC alerts transmitted by the stricken vessel’s skipper were picked up by coastguards who immediately put in place a full scale search and rescue mission involving helicopters and a lifeboat.

An initial attempt by the helicopter to rescue the crew had to be aborted due to the extreme weather conditions, however all fourteen crewmen were subsequently airlifted to safety after some three hours sheltering in the stricken vessel’s wheelhouse.

Action taken

As a result of the accident the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the vessel’s owners:

  • commending Spinningdale’s skipper for ensuring his crew members safety, and maintaining their morale, whilst awaiting rescue.

  • suggesting that they may like to consider supplying their crews with immersion suits for use in such extreme conditions, even though there is no statutory requirement to do so.

Published: March 2008

Published 23 January 2015