Results of the investigations following Isle of Skye fishing vessel sinking in August last year






e owner of the sunken fishing vessel Vellee has been told to ‘improve maintenance and inspection regimes on all vessels’ following a Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report.

By the time the three crew discovered the flooding on 6 August 2011, water was above the engine’s gearbox and it was too late to save the 19m vessel. The crew abandoned the boat for liferafts and 45 minutes later Vellee sunk six miles off Isle of Skye.

The crew didn’t take the vessel’s EPIRB when abandoning ship, however, it floated free and alerted authorities 20 minutes after the sinking, and the crew were rescued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s SAR helicopter.

The engine cylinders removed two days previously

Only two days previously, two of the vessel’s main engine cylinder liners needed to be replaced as a consequence of severe electrolytic corrosion. This led the MAIB to suggest that it was highly probable that electrolytic corrosion had also affected the vessel’s sea water piping and associated fittings, weakening their integrity and ultimately causing a failure.

In the report from the MAIB, it has also been concluded that there were a number of other issues which led to the sinking of the vessel, including the failure of the bilge alarms which hadn’t been tested for 14 months, Vellee’s emergency pumping systems not being maintained, and the lack of a ‘pump running’ indicator on the automatic submersible pump.