MCA: Rogue fishing vessel finally located after two day search –

MCA: Rogue fishing vessel finally located after two day search Published:  05 November, 2007

The vessel reportedly left Peterhead for Wick on Sunday morning

EARLY this morning, Aberdeen Coastguard brought to a conclusion a long running incident which involved a widespread search for a 27 foot open decked vessel, the Boy John with a small white wheelhouse and blue hull, which reportedly left Peterhead heading for Wick with limited fishing equipment early on Sunday morning.

The alert to the Coastguard was made by a local member of the public.

The details of the vessel known from an earlier incident are that it reportedly had no navigation equipment on board and the owner had only a mobile phone and navigation lights. He is also said to have a limited base radio and a hand held radio, but neither appears to be working. He also did not appear to have any relevant charts on board. Both hand held flares on board are known to be time expired.

Further information was gained about the vessel, which identified that its final destination was Scrabster. It also identified that there was an anchor on board, which is not connected to the boat by any rope or chain. The owner lives in Thurso.

The Coastguard managed initially to make contact with the owner on board the vessel on a regular basis, who seemed very confused about his position, but then lost contact.

Searches for the vessel have involved four lifeboats, a rescue helicopter, and eight Coastguard rescue teams from Helmsdale to Hoy.

At one point, the Coastguard sent the owner a text on his mobile phone asking him to dial 999 and make contact, in order to ascertain his position. This contact then allowed the Coastguard to plot his very rough position.

Various contacts have been made throughout the last two days with harbour authorities, who are also aware of the vessel and its owner. Searches have taken place off Helmsdale, Wick, Lybster and Thurso with broadcast action take by the Coastguard over a wide area in an effort to locate the vessel.

By very early Monday morning, the vessel had been found in the Pentland Firth with the owner of the vessel assuming he was in the Dornoch Firth instead.

The Longhope lifeboat has now managed to come alongside the vessel and is escorting him safely into Orkney given the present weather conditions.

Matthew Mace, Watch Manager at Aberdeen Coastguard said: “We are very relieved to have finally found the vessel in poor weather after what has been a difficult and protracted search for us, given the intermittent nature of our contact with the vessel and the owner. We are very concerned that such a vessel, which could be better described as a pleasure vessel than a fishing vessel, has such poor quality equipment on board and which clearly has not been maintained. The owner also did not have a clue about where he was. This greatly concerns us that besides putting himself at risk, he could have been a hazard to other shipping and of course has put pressure on the marine rescue services in all its forms in order to maintain his safety cover.

“We have to seriously ask whether this individual will now reconsider his seaborne activities or try to at least maintain his vessel and its life saving equipment and radio equipment to a standard expected by all responsible seafarers, and take suitable training in order to properly read a chart.” is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.