Police investigate Eriskay sinking

Western Isles police are investigating the circumstances in which a fishing boat sank whilst docked at the Acarsaid Pier on Eriskay last weekend.

The ‘Quest’, a 38ft vessel registered in Oban, had been fishing in the West Minch area for the past six weeks. Another boat, ‘Reul a Chuain’, owned by Eriskay man Angus MacKinnon, also sank in the incident as she was tied to the ‘Quest’.

Salvage teams from Briggs Marine and Cal Dive, who have been on the scene since Saturday, have managed to refloat the ‘Reul a Chuain’. They have yet to bring the ‘Quest’ to the surface although they have managed to lift her off the seabed.

Initial reports suggest that the sinking was not an accident and that the vessel had been sabotaged. One local man, who asked not to be named, said that there were signs that the wheelhouse of the ‘Quest’ had been broken into prior to the vessel sinking.

The police and other authorities were informed of the incident on Saturday morning. Two detectives from Lewis have been present in Eriskay since Monday and they confirmed that the ‘Quest’ was being treated as a crime scene.

The owner of the vessel, Mark Woods (pictured with a diver from Brigg’s Marine) said: “I am absolutely gutted by what’s happened. There was nothing wrong with the boat, which was in very good condition — and the weather in the area at the time of the sinking was fine.”

He went on to praise the response of the people of Eriskay to the incident. “I’d like to thank the people of Eriskay for their help and support over the past few days.  They have been a huge help.”
Salvage teams were due to make a further attempt to bring the vessel to the surface yesterday (Wednesday).

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said that “inquiries into the incident are ongoing”.