29 June,  2023

MAIB Report: fatal man overboard from stern trawler Copious, 18 February 2021, south-east of the Shetland Islands

Picture by DAVID MEEK

Report on the investigation of the man overboard from stern trawler Copious (LK985) resulting in one fatality on 18 February 2021, south-east of the Shetland Islands

Summary:  At about 0300 on 18 February 2021, a deckhand fell overboard from the twin rig stern trawler Copious approximately 30 nautical miles south-east of the Shetland Islands. The deckhand was conscious, wearing a life-jacket and was quickly brought alongside the vessel. However, the crew’s attempts to recover the casualty back on board were unsuccessful. He was unresponsive when recovered from the water by a coastguard helicopter and pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.  The key safety issues identified were: The deckhand fell overboard while attempting a repair to the trawl gear. There was no attempt to stop and consider the repair and the activity was not effectively risk assessed or mitigated.  When he lost consciousness in the water, his incorrectly worn life-jacket did not hold his airways clear of the water and he drowned due to complications of immersion in water.  The man overboard recovery equipment on board Copious was not supplemented by the training and equipment necessary for the recovery of an unconscious person.  Safety recommendations: A recommendation has been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to amend regulations to require fishing vessels to have an efficient means to recover an unconscious person from the water that is demonstrable during surveys and inspections.


  1. Why was there not a marine accident investigation board enquiry when a few months ago a 800 tonne tug broke free form its mooring on the Leven near LIDL heading down towards the main Clyde channel.

    Fortunately it ran aground near the castle. Shipping water after hitting the bank it was a few degrees away from turning over and sinking.

    All hushed up but but had it made it unmanned and drifting into the Clyde to potentially collide with a ship in the channel the consequences could have been disastrous.

  2. We are so used to seeing wrecks in Dumbarton that the police and the Harbourmaster (who he?) probably thought this was just another one, and nobody would notice another piece of scrap lying on the Shore. Btw, when if ever, is something going to be done to break up the Captayanis, which is the sunken sugar boat lying like an eyesore in the Firth off Helensburgh? The Royal Navy could do us all a favour and blow it up for target practice. Ed

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