Person overboard from twin rig trawler Beryl with loss of 1 life

Location: 21 nautical miles west-north-west of the Shetland Islands, Scotland

Accident Investigation Report 26/2015

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

MAIB investigation report 26-2015: Beryl

Annexes to MAIB investigation report 26-2015

Photograph of twin rig trawler Beryl


This reports the MAIB’s investigation into a fatal man overboard from the twin rig stern trawler Beryl, 21 nautical miles west-north-west of mainland Shetland on 10 February 2015. A crewman had moved into a hazardous area in an attempt to free a snagged net, the net suddenly released carrying the crewman overboard with it. The trawler’s crew struggled for approximately 50 minutes to recover the crewman but were unsuccessful.

Safety issues

  • The movement of the crewman into the hazardous area to free a snagged net by-passed the physical and procedural barriers in place
  • The leading deckhand’s actions and the absence of any challenge to his behaviour indicates that the safety culture among the deckhands was not fully developed
  • A 13 minute delay in requesting assistance from a nearby rig support vessel reduced the likelihood of the leading deckhand surviving
  • The crew were unable to recover the crewman from the water
  • The crew had not completed any practical manoverboard drills and were unfamiliar with the man overboard recovery equipment carried on board
  • The skipper and the engineer put themselves at considerable risk by going down the vessel’s side ladder without a lifejacket or a lifeline


Recommendations have been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (2015/156 and 2015/157), Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (2015/156), National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (2015/156) and the Sea Fish Industry Authority (2015/156 and 2015/157). These are aimed at identifying initiatives to encourage fishermen to conduct practical emergency drills and to use risk assessments as a catalyst for behavioural change. The recommendations are also intended to improve the likelihood of recovering persons from the water by ensuring that the recovery systems carried by fishing vessels are suitable and that sufficient and realistic manoverboard drills are carried out on board.

A recommendation (2015/159) has also been made to Beryl’s owner, which seeks to improve the overall safety of its crews, and their ability to respond to emergencies.

A safety accident flyer highlighting a number of the safety issues was produced for this report.

Published 2 December 2015