Built at the Beverley yard of Cook, Welton and Gemmell and launched on 20th April 1916 the steel steam trawler was ordered by the Earl Steam Fishing Company of Grimsby but was immediately requisitioned by the Admiralty for war service as a minesweeper. She measured 117.0′ x 22.0′ x 12.7′ and weighed 233 gross tons, 108 net tons. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by Great Central Co-operative Engineering and Ship Repairing Company Ltd. After the war she passed through a number of owners and operated out of Hull, Grimsby and Dublin before again being requisitioned for war service during World War Two as an anti-submarine vessel and subsequently and examination vessel. Having survived her second major conflict she was returned to her Irish owners W Curtis and McCabe who immediately sold her to Mr W Wood of Aberdeen where she was registered as A129.
The Carency left Aberdeen for the west coast fishing grounds around noon on the 28th June, 1957 under the command of David Baxter Wood her skipper. Unfortunately his second hand had called off sick that morning. By law, Wood should have postponed his departure as the requirement for a second hand is mandatory. Despite this Wood decided to set out on the trip with the remainder of his crew, twelve men in all. By 5pm they were abreast of Rattray Head where the skipper altered course to north by west heading directly for Duncansby Head. The subsequent enquiry focussed on the accuracy of the ship’s compass which it was understood was slightly inaccurate often resulting in a course slightly to the west of the intended course.
Through the night of the 28th and into the early morning of the 29th the trawler steamed across the Moray Firth in clear calm weather. The skipper had gone below and 6:30pm the previous evening and various members of the crew took turns at the wheel as they steamed north. At 10:30 the skipper returned to the wheel but by then, perhaps due to the inaccurate compass and/or due to unintended deviations from the planned course by the uncertificated crew members, the Carency was west of her intended position. In fact later calculations showed that she was almost 11 miles west of the position Wood expected. Not long after the skipper returned to the helm the weather began to deteriorate with fog drifting to the extent that by 11:30pm visibility reduced to almost nil. Despite this the Carency steamed ahead without any adjustment to her speed or extra efforts to determine her position. At 01.00 on the morning of the 30th the Carency ran aground at Greenigoe, south of Wick. They sent out radio distress calls which were picked up by Wick Coastguard who dispatched the lifeboat.
The lifeboat and then the trawler Gilmar attempted to pull the Carency off the rocks but she was stuck fast and by 3pm on the 30th the crew were taken off by the lifeboat and taken to Peterhead. Two hours later the Carency helled over on her beam ends. She became a total loss. The subsequent enquiry placed full blame for the loss on Wood, first for leaving without the legally required second certificated hand and then for not taking precautions of reducing speed and checking position when the vessel was enveloped in fog. His certificate was suspended for six months.
The wreckage of the Carency lies in position 58°26.753’N, 003°03.371’W in 10 metres and is broken and spread over a wide area of seabed at Greenigoe. The boiler remarkably still stands almost in tact proud of the seabed and the large propeller is also visible among the other wise tangled wreckage.