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Neither skipper was looking when boats crashed report says

The vessels involved in the incident
The vessels involved in the incident

The skippers of two boats that collided off Argyll were not keeping an effective lookout, an investigation has revealed.

The Sapphire Stone and the Karen collided near Campbeltown resulting in the Karen sinking.

A report into the crash is published by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) today.

It states: “The investigation identified that neither skipper was keeping an effective visual lookout, and that radar contacts were not being systematically observed, or plotted, to ascertain whether a risk of collision existed.

“Additionally Sapphire Stone’s skipper had become over reliant on Automatic Identification System information displayed on his chart plotter.

“Recommendations have been made to the skippers of both vessels to heed the contents of extant Maritime Coastguard Agency guidance to the fishing industry.”

The vessels collided on January 22 at 4.27pm. Sapphire Stone was steering a north-westerly course towards Campbeltown to land its catch, while the Karen was towing its nets on a westerly course.

The Karen was struck on her port quarter and was severely damaged. The hull was opened to the sea, which caused the aft crew accommodation and main engine room to flood rapidly, resulting in its foundering within three minutes of the collision occurring.

Sapphire Stone suffered minor damage. Attempts by the Karen’s skipper to send a distress alert were unsuccessful due to the speed with which the vessel foundered.

However, the Karen’s crew were successfully rescued by the crew of Sapphire Stone, and the Coastguard was alerted by the Karen’s emergency position-indicating radio beacon, which activated after the vessel sank.

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