Machinery failure and subsequent flooding of long liner Port of Ayr

Location: 32nm north west of Shetland, Scotland.

Completed PE Summary: Port of Ayr

A short summary of the accident and action taken.

Vessel name:   Port of Ayr
Ship owner:   Overend Ltd
Manager:   Hooktone Ltd
Port of registry:   Fleetwood
Flag:   UK
Type:   Longliner
Built:   1973 Bilbao, Spain
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   28.18m
Gross tonnage:   254
Date & Time:   29/10/2009, 0447 UTC+1
Location of incident:   32nm north west of Shetland
Incident Type:   Flooding and machinery failure
Persons on board:   16
Injuries / fatalities:   None
Damage / Pollution:   Small hull penetration and failure of main gearbox pinions and clutch housing


Port of Ayr was on passage to new fishing grounds when a loud bang was heard coming from the starboard side of the hull. This was immediately followed by a series of heavy thumps. The gearbox was put into neutral as the chief engineer stopped the engine believing that the vessel had hit an underwater object which may have passed through the propeller. Subsequent checks found that the propeller shaft to be seized. A small hole was also found in the hull in the engine room. External fothering stemmed the water ingress while the hole was shored up, which significantly reduced the flow of water, enabling the bilge pumps to cope easily.

The vessel was towed to Sullum Voe, where long heavy gauge monofilament line were found to have caused the shaft seizure and consequent widespread damage to the main gearbox components. The hole was probably caused by a heavy granite or steel weight attached to the line as it was wound around the propeller.

The examination noted that none of the crew held a professional Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC), and there was no English speaker on board.

Actions taken

The vessel’s owner and manager have been:

  • Commended on the crew’s efficient post-accident damage control actions.
  • Advised to ensure that there is at least one English speaking officer on board its UK registered vessels and that officers hold the required CECs and other professional requirements laid down in the Marine Information Note 242 (M+F) - Certificates of Equivalent Competency - Amendment of Procedures


Published December 2009

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