Person overboard from potter Flying Cloud with loss of 1 life

Location: 0.1 nm south east of Burra Voe, Yell, Shetland Islands, Scotland.

Completed PE Summary: Flying Cloud

A short summary of the accident and action taken.

Vessel name:   Flying Cloud (LK983)
Registered owner:   Private owner
Port of registry:   Lerwick
Flag:   UK
Type:   Potter
Built:   1989
Construction:   Fibreglass
Length overall:   8.0m (7.5m registered length)
Gross tonnage:   3.68
Date & time:   9 October 2010, 1345 local (UTC+1)
Location of incident:   0.1 nm SE of Burra Voe, Yell, Shetland Islands
Incident type:   Man Overboard
Persons on board:   3
Injuries:   1 fatality
Damage/pollution:   None


The potting vessel Flying Cloud was recovering its catch and shifting some of its sets of creels to more sheltered grounds in preparation for worsening weather. The vessel was fitted with a stern-shooting arrangement, which was normally used when shooting a single set of creels. However, when shifting grounds, several sets of creels were carried on deck and this prevented the stern-shooting system from being used. The accident happened while a co-owner of the vessel was shooting away the last of the sets by picking up each creel in turn and throwing it over the side in the traditional method.

The helmsman heard a shout from the aft deck. He turned and saw the co-owner’s leg caught in the back rope that connected the creels together. The helmsman came astern to reduce the tension in the back rope, but the co-owner was carried overboard and dragged underwater. The helmsman was able to heave in the back rope and bring the co-owner to the surface and up to the block in the hauling davit. However, the co-owner was caught in the back rope, and on cutting the rope to free himself was once again dragged underwater. When the co-owner did not resurface, the helmsman manoeuvred the boat to retrieve the other end of the back rope. He hauled the set back on board and found the co-owner still entangled in the back rope.

The co-owner was given first-aid before being evacuated to hospital by helicopter, but he could not be saved.

Actions taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has previously made a recommendation to the Department for Transport regarding safety in the fishing industry. The recommendation is still under consideration.

The surviving co-owner has been urged to consider: methods of separating crew from the back rope while carrying multiple sets of creels; providing knives that can be used quickly in an emergency; and, the wearing of lifejackets or personal flotation devices while working on the open deck.

Published: 3 December 2010

Recommendation 2010/112, May 2010.

The Department for Transport is recommended to:
Recognise the consistent and disproportionate rate of fatalities in the UK fishing industry and take urgent action to develop a comprehensive, timely and properly resourced plan to reduce that rate to a level commensurate with other UK occupations.

Recommendation made as a result of the investigation into the fatalities on fvs Korenbloem, Osprey III and Optik (MAIB report 6/2010).

Published 23 January 2015