Fishing vessel skipper pleads guilty of failure to keep a proper lookout

On 12th January 2011 the fishing vessel Silver Chord II, collided with and sank the fishing vessel Saphire. The Silver Chord II was heading home to Stornoway after a day trawling for prawns in the North Minch. The skipper Murdo MacDonald left his wheelhouse for a short time to assist his crew in sorting the catch. Roderick McLeod, skipper of the Saphire was operating his fishing vessel single handed, which was stopped in the water whilst he hauled his net. The Silver Chord II crashed into the port side of the Sapphire. The water poured in so quickly that the vessel sank within minutes. Mr McLeod was able to jump safely onto the Silver Chord II. Our investigation revealed there was no lookout on either vessel at the time of the collision. At the Sheriff Court in Stornoway on 29th February 2012, Mr McDonald pleaded guilty to failing to keep a proper lookout. Mr McDonald was fined a total of £1000.
The MCA is very concerned that operators of large fishing vessels such as the Saphire and Silver Cloud II are not maintaining a lookout whilst at sea. Keeping a lookout at all times is mandatory for seafarers on all vessels. This incident once again reminds all fishermen of the need to ensure that the skippers primary responsibility is the safety of his crew and vessel. Read the report on the MCA website…