Scottish fishing tragedy inquiry date fixed –

Scottish fishing tragedy inquiry date fixed Published:  10 March, 2010

THE official inquiry into the deaths of three fishermen who died in a Scottish trawler fire 18 months ago is to take place this summer, it was announced yesterday.

The three day hearing into the incident on board the Banff registered Vision II will open at Peterhead Sheriff Court on July 20. The Vision II was moored in Fraserburgh at the time of the incident in August 2008. It was also one of Scotland’s worst fishing tragedies for some years.

The fatalities involved two Filipino fishermen, Ramilto Calipayan and Benjamin Potot, both in their thirties and 50-year old Latvian Rimants Venckus. More than 40 Grampian Fire and Rescue firefighters tackled what they described “as a very severe blaze” on the 90 foot long vessel at the time.

In fact the fire was so fierce that firemen had to wear breathing apparatus and use thermal imaging equipment. They later found the three men but they were already dead. The vessel itself was severely damaged. A later Marine Accident Investigation branch preliminary report said the cause of the blaze was possibly a smouldering cigarette or faulty electrical equipment such as a heater.

Some months later two more Filipino fishermen died after falling overboard from Scottish fishing vessels in separate incidents. This led to calls by the International Transport Workers Federation late last year for a review of training procedures for foreign crewmen working on Scottish boats of which there are a growing number.

However, Scottish fishing leaders have strongly denied any suggestion of neglect in this area