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Marine / Investigation into grounding of fishing boat begins

The boat pictured back in early August after it grounded on rocks. Photo: Simmer Dim Charters

THE MARINE Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has confirmed it has now started an investigation into the grounding of a fishing boat on rocks west of Shetland at the weekend.

It comes after an oily sheen was reported in the area by the Aith Lifeboat on Sunday when it returned to the scene for checks.

Fifteen crew members were airlifted by the coastguard from the 30m UK registered Coelleira in the early hours of Sunday morning after it ran aground on rocks at the Vee Skerries, which are found just west of Papa Stour.

No injuries were reported, although the crew were taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick for checks.

On Monday a spokesman for the MAIB, the UK government agency which investigates marine accidents, said:

“We have started an investigation into the grounding of the UK registered fishing vessel Coelleira (OB93), west of Shetland, Scotland on Sunday 4 August.

“The 27m vessel’s 15 crew were airlifted from the vessel, which remains aground.”

15 crew winched off fishing vessel grounded in South Skerries, Shetland

HM Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter based at Sumburgh winches 15 crew off fishing vessel grounded in South Skerries, Shetland (4 August)

Posted by Maritime and Coastguard Agency on Sunday, 4 August 2019

The Sumburgh based coastguard helicopter was alerted, as was the Aith Lifeboat, at around 1.30am on Sunday.

The crew were winched off the vessel and taken to the Clickimin landing site, with the two rescue teams, the police and the Fisherman’s Mission on scene to provide assistance.

They were then checked over in hospital.

The coastguard emergency towing vessel Ievoli Black arrived on the scene at around 6pm on Sunday, and it has kept watch since.

Photo: RNLI

The fishing vessel’s master and chief engineer were transferred back onboard late on Sunday afternoon to undertake an inspection of engines and propeller, and to see the extend of any other damage.

During this inspection, however, the vessel took on a greater list to port and the personnel were recovered to their support vessel before returning to Scalloway.

The crew members have been supported by the Fishermen’s Mission through the process.

The Vee Skerries are a small group of rocks around three miles north west of Papa Stour.

A lighthouse was erected there after Elinor Viking got into trouble in the area in the late 1970s.

The crew were airlifted from the vessel in poor conditions.

Lives were lost at the Vee Skerries in March 1930 when the Aberdeen-based trawler Ben Doran ran into trouble.