SAN FRANCISCO — The deaths of eight crew members, including a Filipino, when a ship capsized in violent weather conditions in the Pentland Firth, Scotland could have been avoided if the master had sought shelter, a BBC report said.
The Cyprus-registered cargo ship Cemfjord sank in January 2, 2015, killing eight seafarers including Filipino Third engineer Jerome Narvas, 32.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch said the master’s decision was “probably influenced by actual or perceived commercial pressures.” The report said there would have been no time to issue a distress message or escape.
The NorthLink ferry Hrossey, which was sailing to Aberdeen from the Northern Isles, spotted the Cemfjord’s upturned hull and issued an alarm.
The report said that violent storm conditions—gale force winds, strong opposing tidal streams—existed in the area of the mishap.
It further said that such conditions are common in the Pentland Firth and could have been predicted and avoided with effective planning.
The quick sinking prevented the crew from sending a distress signal or abandoning ship. The accident went unnoticed until the ferry spotted the ship’s hull.”
No trace of the seven Polish nationals and one Filipino on board the Cemfjord was found despite an extensive search operation. A sonar image shows the cargo ship resting at the bottom of the sea.