Emergency Compassion

Posted on Monday 9th May 2022

Emergency Compassion


Image by Chris Boulton

Last year our fishing fleet experienced the highest number of fatal accidents and serious injuries for some years. The Fishermen’s Mission emergency on-call team responded to over 80 incidents. Aubrey Jamieson, our man in Shetland, shares the timeline of one such incident.


Filipino fisherman Joseph Edison Lacaste lost off Shetland vessel ‘Copious’ LK985

THURSDAY: My mobile rings at 4:35am on a bitterly cold February morning. My colleague has been contacted by Shetland Coastguard and informs me of a crewman overboard from ‘Copious’ LK985 30 miles south east of Sumburgh Head. A major incident is declared with the casualty airlifted to the hospital in Lerwick.

By 5:00am I’m at the landing site as the helicopter transfer gets underway. Tragically, news later arrives that the fisherman has not survived. The Copious is heading for home and due to dock at 10:00am.

Greeting the boat as it ties up, I speak to the skipper before boarding to meet the crew. All are deeply shocked and can barely speak of the incident. Returning later, I spend three hours with the traumatised crew who begin to speak about the loss of their friend. I keep in contact with the skipper that evening and the following day as the Police and maritime authorities continue their enquiries.

SATURDAY: Visiting the boat again and I’m particularly concerned about the two Filipinos on board who are understandably the most shaken of all the crew. My priority is to get them off the boat to recover.  They have slept little and are exhausted. I’m also anxious to support the skipper as he is carrying a lot of stress. Later that evening I return to assist the crew move into a flat I’ve booked ashore.

SUNDAY – TUESDAY: I speak with the boys first thing this morning – they’re looking better and have been able to sleep. Investigations continue and I support the skipper and crew through difficult and stressful days.

“The key role we play after such an incident is being there as someone to talk to, someone who understands what the days ahead will look like. There is no disguising the trauma and shock involved with losing a friend to the sea and if we can help we will.” 


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