The ship’s time was one hour ahead of GMT and the Second Mate was due to take over the watch from the Master, Konstantin Gobulev. The Second Mate felt a judder and rushed up to the bridge but there was no one there.
The Second Mate called the Mate to the bridge and together they sounded the general alarm. When the Master still did not appear, the Second Mate went down to his cabin where he found him in bed.
The Mate and Second Mate contacted the Coastguard and carried out an inspection of the ship’s ballast tanks. They discovered that the fore peak tank and the bow thrust compartment were both flooded.
The Flinterspirit was on a rising tide and the officers deballasted No 3 and No 1 ballast tanks, and at approximately 0300 on Mar 20, the ship floated free. The Flinterspirit went to Stornoway so divers could carry out an underwater inspection, but bad weather prevented her from being berthed until Mar 22.
Later that day, the Master was arrested and charged with a breach of the Railways & Transport Security Act 2003 after failing a routine breath test. At court in Stornoway on Mar 28, Gobulev pleaded guilty to being over the limit for alcohol on Mar 22 and he also pleaded guilty to a breach of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 section 58 (2)(b)(i) by failing to properly navigate his ship. He was fined a total of £3,500.