Skipper lost at sea named as star of BBC documentary 'Trawlermen'

ONE of the stars of BBC's popular documentary series Trawlermen was yesterday named as the skipper lost overboard from a fishing vessel off the Buchan coast.

Kevin West, 43, skipper of the Fraserburgh-registered trawler Ryanwood, featured in a number of episodes of the series charting the lives of Scottish fishermen.

He was lost overboard from his vessel on Sunday afternoon when the Ryanwood was 15 miles from its home port. The crew contacted Aberdeen Coastguard to report that he had not been seen for an hour and that they feared he had fallen overboard. It was unlikely that he had been wearing a lifejacket.

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The Ryanwood retraced its course as 17 vessels, together with Fraserburgh lifeboat and a Sea King search and rescue helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth, joined in the search, which was called off as darkness fell.

Yesterday, a total of 12 vessels, including the Ryanwood and Fraserburgh lifeboat, returned to the search area in the hope of recovering Mr West's body.

A spokesman for Aberdeen Coastguard said yesterday: "Unfortunately, the area was so big yesterday we felt that once we had terminated the search there was no chance of there being someone alive."

He added: "This morning several vessels said they would like to continue the search and we provided them with a search plan.

We are just hoping that the vessels might come across the body and at least be able to recover that for the family."

Jimmy Buchan, one of the most prominent stars of the series led the tributes to the missing skipper.

He said: "I knew Kevin very well. I used to see him probably every day we were in port together. I am absolutely devastated at his loss.

"You couldn't meet a nicer lad. He was also a first-rate fishermen and was an extremely successful skipper – one of the top skippers in the UK."

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Michael Watt, the independent councillor for Fraserburgh, said the loss of Mr West was a "devastating blow for the community". He added: "Kevin was well known throughout the town. My thoughts are with his family at this time."

A police spokesman said: "Grampian Police confirm that they are making inquiries regarding the fisherman who went missing in the North Sea on Sunday.

"This inquiry is being classed as a missing person inquiry. There are no suspicious circumstances."