Rescue operation mounted as Fife fishing boat hits the rocks

A dramatic early morning rescue operation was launched today after a fishing boat ran aground of the Fife coast.

Kirk Doig, owner and skipper of the Carisma
Kirk Doig, owner and skipper of the Carisma

Volunteer RNLI crews from Anstruther were able to rescue two men from the Carisma before she was wrecked after hitting the rocky shore near Pittemweem shortly after 6:15am.

The loss of the vessel is a massive blow to her owner and skipper Kirk Doig, who launched Carisma Seafoods in August when the Covid-10 pandemic ended most demand from fish markets as the country felt the full impact of lockdown on the hospitality industry.

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Mr Doig had been catching langoustine off the East Neuk coast and delivering them to customers along with hauls from other local boats.

Wrecked: The Carisma is the smallest vessel in the Pittenweem Harbour fleet

In a press release issued at the time he launched Carisma Seafoods, Mr Doig, 31, said: “Before lockdown we fished on a quota system with fishing commencing on a Sunday night, working four to five shifts depending on the weather. The struggle for enough boats meant relying on long hours and tedious graft, landing enough of a catch for factories who pay little for a premium product.

"I specialise in catching langoustine but I’m also able to help other East Neuk creel fisherman by selling their lobster and crab within hours of coming ashore, unlike the larger, commercial fishing operations where the majority of the catch is frozen and destined for overseas fish markets in Europe. We have really turned the fishing formula on its head and rather than meeting quotas I am now fishing to order. Targeting the best quality and by only taking what I need, I can provide a premium service with the freshest product. “

Mr Doig, who was unavailable to comment on the loss of the Carisma, added: “The response has been incredible with customers now ordering every week that I’ve taken the plunge and bought a new delivery vehicle with chiller unit so we can expand and offer deliveries further afield in Fife and Tayside and into Edinburgh and the Lothians too. The next step is that we are now developing an e-commerce capability allowing my new customers to purchase online.”

It is not known how the Carisma came to be washed aground and her loss is expected to the the subject of a Marine Accident Investigation Branch inquiry.

Stricken: Two crew were rescued

On Carisma Seafood’s website, it states: “Carisma is the name of the "Kingfisher 26" prawn trawler that Kirk owns and fishes the sea’s located off the South and Eastern coast of the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. Despite being the smallest vessel in the Pittenweem fleet, Carisma is a modern, well equipped fishing vessel.”

A spokesperson for the RNLI confirmed the charity’s involvement in the incident, saying: “Anstruther RNLI was tasked at 6.15am this morning (Sunday 15 November) to a vessel aground with two onboard near to Pittenweem Harbour. Both lifeboats launched and evacuated the fisherman from their stricken vessel. Both are safe, well and required no medical treatment. The fishermen were handed over to the UK Coastguard ground team in Pittenweem Harbour.”

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Carisma on the rocks as RNLI stand-by

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