The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) in the UK has released it Annual Report for 2021 examining all aspects of casualty reports and making recommendations to improve safety-at-sea in the future.
The branch raised 1530 reports of marine accidents and commenced 22 investigations in 2021.
The report shows there were 5,378 UK registered fishing vessels at the end of 2021. During 2021, 89 casualties to vessels involving these vessels were reported to the MAIB. Six fishing vessels were reported lost (0.11% of the total fleet) and there were 10 fatalities to crew.
“Ten commercial fishermen lost their lives in 2021, the highest annual figure for a decade and a stark contrast to the low loss of life in 2020,” says Captain Andrew Moll OBE Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents.
“That is a little short of one death per 1000 qualified fishing vessel crew: possibly a statistical blip, but a truly appalling annual fatality rate nonetheless. I therefore make no excuse for a longer than normal section on fishing safety in this introduction as commercial fishing investigations accounted for nine of the 22 investigations commenced in-year,” write Captain Moll.
The Chief Inspector said that the reports found that the rise in accidents related to smaller craft and man overboard incidents. He said, “It is unsurprising, but disappointing, that the most significant safety issues were, again, small fishing vessel stability and man overboard fatalities. I will not decry any of the various initiatives that are ongoing to improve fishing vessel safety – a lot of people are doing some very good work – but the evidence shows that the messages are not yet changing behaviours to a significant extent.”
Overall, the MAIB made 35 recommendations to 23 separate addressees in 2021, of which 77.1% were either accepted and implemented or accepted, yet to be implemented. Three recommendations were rejected for reasons as set out in the report and there has been no response received to five recommendations made to overseas companies. While the acceptance rate is down on the high level of acceptance achieved in 2020 (>90%), it nonetheless validates our process of whenever possible involving stakeholders in the formulation of recommendations during the final stages of an investigation.