The steel motor vessel Freya was launched from the Dumbarton yard of William Denny and Bros Ltd.(Yard No 1467) on 26th November 1954. She measured 154.7′ x 24.8′ x 11.0′ and her registered tonnage was 274gross tons, 58 net tons. She was powered by 2 x Sulzer 4 cylinder diesel engines by Denny delivering 500 brake horse power and a top speed of 14 ½ knots.
Purchased by the Scottish Home Department (Agriculture and Fisheries) for use as a Fisheries Protection vessel she was commissioned in 1955 and based at Leith patrolling the fishing grounds around the Scottish coast enforcing British protected fishing grounds and rules.
In January 1959 Freya was patrolling the northern waters of the Moray Firth under the command of Commander Gordon McLaren with a crew of nineteen men aboard. On the evening of the 8th after completing the days patrol, Gordon anchored his ship for the night near Sarclet Head intending to resume his patrol the following morning. In the early hours of the morning the weather deteriorated and, with most of the crew in their bunks, began to roll heavily. At 3:15am McLaren decided to make for the Cromarty Firth for shelter and got under way on a south westerly course. Forty five minutes later, with the wind now gusting to gale force, Freya was struck by a large wave on the port quarter causing her to list severely and breach and then, before she could right herself, two more large waves struck her and she tilted further to ninety degrees. She could not right herself from this position and quickly began to founder. The men aboard scrambled to abandon the ship in a rubber raft before she sank five minutes after the waves hit. Commander McLaren, who was on the bridge when the waves struck, and two of the crew (Peter Marshall and James Haddaway) went down with the ship. The crew spent four uncomfortable hours in the rubber dinghy before they were spotted by the Belgian trawler Berchmans and picked up. The men reported that the skipper and two of the crew were still missing and a wide search began involving fishing vessels in the area, the coastguard, a local lifeboat and a Naval helicopter but the missing men were never found. The surviving crew were taken to Invergordon where they recovered from their ordeal before heading home over the next few days.
The wreck of the Freya lies in position 58° 20.947’N, 003° 06.394’W oriented 030/210 degrees. The wreck is highly degraded lying in 47 metres with a least clearance of 42 metres. The midsection is reported to be collapsed with bow and stern most in tact.