Person overboard from workboat Conquest with loss of 1 life

Location: Olna Firth, Shetland.

Completed PE Summary: Conquest

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Conquest
Registered Owner/Manager Mainstream Scotland Ltd
Port of Registry Unregistered
Type Workboat - Aquaculture well boat
Built 1987
Construction Steel
Length Overall 18.95m
Gross Tonnage 74
Date/Time 19/03/2007, approximately 1545 (UTC)
Location of Incident Olna Firth
Incident Type Accident to person
Persons Onboard 5
Fatalities/Injuries 1 fatality
Damage/Pollution None


A crewman fell overboard, with no lifejacket on, whilst the vessel was on passage from a fish farm to the harbour. It was only after the vessel moored up alongside that the crew realised one of their number was missing. After searching the vessel unsuccessfully, a boat was taken into the Firth, where the missing crewman’s body was discovered, some thirty minutes after being last seen onboard.

Guard rails on the vessel’s working deck were found to have two large gaps in them, to assist harvesting and discharge operations, with no means of closure; it is highly probable this is where the man fell overboard.

Action taken

As a result of the accident the Mainstream Scotland has closed one guard rail permanently and fitted a means of closing the other gap when it is not in use. Additionally, the company is in discussions with external providers of Health and Safety services to:

  • carry out an assessment of existing Health & Safety policies and training.

  • produce both site and vessel specific risk assessments, rather than the current generic assessments

  • The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to Mainstream Scotland strongly advising that, in addition to the above actions:

  • as part of their risk assessments consider supplying all crewmen with man overboard notification devices, which are now readily available from various suppliers;

  • consider providing a means of protecting personnel working near the vessel’s well hatchway whilst handling fish.

Published 23 January 2015