UK authorities to hold fatal accident inquiry into 2015 cargo ship sinking

Cemfjord off the coast of Gdynia, Poland, in 2013 (Photo: Dubowicz)

The UK’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is preparing to conduct a fatal accident inquiry into the loss of a cargo ship and its entire crew off the Scottish coast seven years prior.

A spokesperson for the COPFS said the agency has completed its investigation into the capsizing and sinking of the Cyprus-flagged cement carrier Cemfjord in the Pentland Firth near the Orkney Islands on January 2, 2015.

The next step is the fatal accident inquiry to examine the full circumstances of the tragedy. However, the date when the inquiry will be held has not yet been announced.

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report revealed that Cemfjord sailed into the Pentland Firth despite the fact that its crew had failed to adequately assess the severity of the weather conditions in the area on the said date.

The ship floundered in rough seas and eventually sank to a depth of 82 metres. Tragically, none of the seven Polish nationals and one Filipino national that comprised the crew were ever found despite an extensive search of the area by lifeboats, helicopters, and the Royal Navy frigate HMS Somerset.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers said the announcement of the fatal accident inquiry seven years after the accident itself occurred was “appalling.”

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