WATCH: Rapid sinking of Irish trawler off Scotland prompts safety recommendations

Footage of the rescue of the crew of the Iúda Naofa.

Several safety recommendations have been issued following an investigation into the rapid sinking of an Irish trawler off Scotland.

Five men on board the 25m Galway-registered Iúda Naofa trawler were saved as the vessel capsized and sank within 40 seconds off the Butt of Lewis, northern Scotland, on January 20, 2015.

A Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report found the trawler crew had difficulty operating a portable pump which was winched by a British coast guard helicopter onto their vessel using a hi-line.

It said just one crewman had knowledge of hi-line protocols, and that the crew had difficulty releasing a clip on it.

The MCIB recommended that portable pumps should have clear instructions attached and this should be communicated to the fishing industry by way of a safety notice.

It has also recommended the updating of protocols, and special safety training for fishermen in relation to search and rescue operations which involve helicopter hi-lines.

The Iúda Naofa set off from Rossaveel on January 17, 2015, in the company of another vessel, Star of Hope.

Both vessels were laden with fish and were returning to Lough Foyle when the Iúda Naofa began taking on water between 9am and 9.30am, about 80km north of the Hebrides.

When its pumps could not stem the flow of water, the skipper alerted the Irish coast guard just after 10.30am.

A British coast guard helicopter responded and winched a portable pump on to its deck.

The trawler crew told the MCIB they had difficulty releasing the pump from the hi-line and said they could not start it because there were no instructions.

However, Stornaway Coast Guard told the MCIB that there was a full set of instructions with the pump and that the hi-line release clip was a standard type which should not have presented any difficulty.

The vessel capsized and sank within seconds. Three crewmen were airlifted to safety and the other two swam to a life raft and were subsequently rescued by the Star of Hope. All five were safely brought ashore.

The MCIB report said it was not possible to determine what caused the ingress of water but said the lodging of water on the fore deck led to the capsizal and eventual sinking.


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