The Director of UK Maritime Services Katy Ware has praised the ongoing work being done to improve fishing industry safety at an APPG event
The Director of UK Maritime Services Katy Ware, has praised the ongoing work being done to improve safety in the fishing industry, telling an All Party Parliamentary Group that it will continue to be driven forward.
Katy Ware, who is also the UK’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization, was one of the speakers at the group’s online meeting discussing safety in the fishing industry on Tuesday (2nd December).
From the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s perspective, Katy said there was a real drive to build on work already being done to reduce fatalities in an industry deemed to be one of the most dangerous in the world.
In the last five years, 33 lives have been lost and the number of incidents reported by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch is around the 800 mark.
The MCA is working alongside the industry and other partners to reduce incidents at sea and all continue to carry out the vital work to improve safety. Katy reminded the group of the work of the Fishing Industry Safety Group which continues to strive towards its target of zero preventable fatalities by 2027.
Katy told the group: “To achieve these ambitions it is important that everyone embraces their responsibilities. This of course includes government and our regulatory regime, as well as the quality of our emergency response capability. But ultimately it relies on owners, skippers and the crew who are most directly impacted by how the vessel is safely operated and managed – to do things safely.”
She said that work being done by everyone across the industry including the fishermen themselves, was undoubtedly a positive step with groups established in south west England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Katy said: “I am delighted to see the work these groups are taking forward and would encourage other regions to look at the work of these committees and establish versions that work for them.”
She said that funding of £350,000 had been provided by the MCA to encourage the fishing industry to support the purchases of lifejackets and personal flotation devices – now required by law through ILO 188. But she reminded everyone that they needed cooperation from fishermen in other regards to improve safety.
Katy added: “There is perhaps an understandable reluctance to report accidents or incidents for fear of enforcement action from the MCA. I must be clear, where rules are flaunted we will take the necessary action. However we, as the MCA, will also take time to work with fishermen to learn lessons and to prevent a reoccurrence. The positive effect of reporting accidents and incidents is that it will likely prevent, in the longer term, the same thing happening to someone else.
“Improving fishing safety is not easy – it will require time and effort from everyone, but through the commitment of everyone involved, through using new ideas and new technology, raising standards and demonstrating the benefits of a safe vessel, we will get there.”