Inquiry to be held into Cemfjord ship sinking that killed eight

The Cemfjord capsized in the Pentland Firth on its way to England from Denmark in January 2015.

Fatal Accident Inquiry to be held into sinking of cargo ship, the Cemfjord, that cost eight lives STV News
The Cemfjord capsized in the Pentland Firth on January 2, 2015.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held into the sinking of a cargo ship seven years ago which claimed eight lives.

The Cemfjord was sailing between Denmark and England when it capsized in the Pentland Firth on January 2, 2015.

Despite a major air and sea search the crew, made up of seven Polish men and One Filipino man, were never found.

Investigators from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch said the crew underestimated the severity of the weather when they sailed into the Pentland Firth, and they were not prepared to deal with emergency situations.

Crown counsel has now formally instructed that there should be a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) to examine the full circumstances surrounding their deaths.

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “The COPFS investigation into the deaths of the eight seamen in the Pentland Firth in 2015 is complete and work is ongoing in preparation for the holding of a Fatal Accident Inquiry.” 

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers have called the delays in investigating the deaths “appalling”.

A spokesman said: “The Fatal Accident Inquiry system was reformed by the Scottish Government in 2016 but it has done nothing to speed up cases. 

“To take seven years to announce an inquiry into the Cemfjord tragedy is appalling. 

“It will be very hard to involve families, who may not want to travel from Poland or the Phillipines to contribute and the memories of others will fade. 

“An investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch found that commercial pressures had played a role in the loss of the Cemfjord. 

“So, you wonder, after all this time, what is the point of a FAI?”