Highlands & Islands

Crewman watching music videos before cargo ship grounded

Aground cargo ship Priscilla Image copyright Lewis Davidson/Thurso RNLI
Image caption The cargo ship was stuck on rocks for seven days before it was refloated

A crewman was watching music videos on his phone when he should have been monitoring his cargo ship's progress, investigators have said.

The officer of the watch did not spot until it was too late the MV Priscilla had moved from its planned route.

Investigators said he then put the boat on an alternative route that placed the ship in "imminent danger".

The Priscilla ran aground at the Pentland Skerries between Orkney and the Caithness coast.

Thurso RNLI and a tug Green Isle went to the aid of the crew.

The ship and its six crew members, who were uninjured, were stuck on rocks at the small islands in the Pentland Firth for seven days before the boat was refloated.

Image copyright Lewis Davidson/Thurso RNLI
Image caption The MAIB said there should have additional watchkeeping on the Priscilla at night-time

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch's (MAIB) report on last July's grounding said the officer of the watch had sat in the bridge chair watching videos for about two hours.

Investigators said he should have been monitoring the Priscilla's course and did not have time to react when he did notice it had shifted from its planned route.

The MAIB also said there were no navigational alarms and, although the accident happened at night, no additional lookout had been posted.

Since the grounding the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has taken steps to improve the standards of vessel traffic monitoring in Pentland Firth.

The MAIB said the Priscilla's owner had updated onboard procedures, but had been asked to take further steps to improve standards of watchkeeping.

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