Highlands & Islands

Owners of Louisa 'devastated' by loss of crew in sinking

Crab boat Louisa Image copyright Alasdair MacLennan
Image caption The Louisa sank while at anchor

The owners of the crab boat Louisa said they have been "devastated" by the loss of three crew after the vessel sank off the Western Isles.

The bodies of Chris Morrison, 27, from Harris, and Martin Johnstone, 29, from Caithness, were found following Saturday's incident off Mingulay.

Skipper Paul Alliston, 42, from Lewis, remains missing. Another of the crew survived after swimming to shore.

Owners Duncan and Murdo Kennedy described the sinking as "tragic".

The boat sank while at anchor in the early hours of Saturday.

After reaching shore, Lachlann Armstrong, 27, clung to rocks until he was rescued by a lifeboat. He has told of problems inflating the Louisa's life raft.

Fresh searches for Mr Alliston are expected to be made later this week, while the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has begun an investigation of the sinking.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Chris Morrison, left, and Martin Johnstone died after the boat sank

In a statement, the Kennedys said: "We are totally devastated at the loss of Paul, Chris and Martin due to the tragic sinking off Mingulay last Saturday.

"Our thoughts, sympathy and prayers are with Paul's mother Wilma and family in Stornoway, Chris's partner Naomi and his children Jessica and Hazel, also his parents in Leverburgh, Martin's parents and family in Thurso and with Lachlann and his family, as he reflects over the tragic loss of his close friends in the sinking."

The owners thanked Barra lifeboat volunteers, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the emergency services for their actions.

They added: "We are engaging fully with representatives from MAIB, officers from Police Scotland and the vessel's insurers, as they continue their comprehensive investigation into events which occurred into and following the sinking of the Louisa."

More on this story