A chance accident in bad weather has been blamed for the loss of a fishing boat and its four-man crew in the North Sea, BBC Scotland has learned.
The wreckage of the Meridian was never found
The Aberdeen-based Meridian, registered in Fife, had been doing observation work for an oil firm when it sank 160 miles off the coast last October.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said the modern boat had been "virtually unsinkable".
The report into the sinking of the Meridian is being published later.
The body of Edward Gardner, 50, from Fife, was recovered after the sinking.
Bodies not found
However, the bodies of Sidney Low, 52, from Aberdeen, Martin Gardner, 49, and Ian Donald, 55, both from Fife, were not found.
The interrupted search for the Anstruther-registered boat was finally called off in April without any trace being found.
The MAIB said the Meridian was considered to be a modern and well-maintained vessel in the hands of an experienced skipper.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF), told BBC Scotland of the report's findings: "It was one of those one-in-a-million accidents. It's a very educated, investigated guess.
"Our thoughts are with the families."
The case could be reopened - and a further investigation carried out - if the wreck of the Meridian is ever discovered.