The Joanna C was the only fishing vessel to sink with casualties in 2020 according to the MCIB Annual Report

The Joanna C was the only fishing vessel to sink with casualties in 2020 according to the MAIB Annual Report

The Marine Casualty Investigation Branch has published its annual report detailing the work of the branch for 2020.

The MAIB Chief Inspector, Captain Andrew Moll said, “I am pleased to introduce MAIB’s annual report 2020. It was another busy and successful year for the Branch improving safety at sea by our sustained output of safety investigation reports, safety digests, and safety bulletins despite lock-down conditions affecting work for much of the year. The Branch raised 1,217 reports of marine accidents and incidents and commenced 19 investigations in 2020.”

The MAIB examines and investigates all types of marine accidents to or onboard UK vessels worldwide, and other vessels in UK territorial waters. Located in offices in Southampton, the MAIB is a separate, independent branch within the Department for Transport (DfT). The head of the MAIB, the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, reports directly to the Secretary of State for Transport.

On paper, 2020 was a safer year for the UK fishing industry, with only one accident (Joanna C, BM 265) resulting in fatalities.

Regrettably, six commercial fishermen’s lives have been lost already in 2021, meaning that eight commercial fishermen have lost their lives in the six-month period November to May. While the investigations are ongoing, the indications are that five lives were lost as a result of small fishing vessels capsizing or foundering quickly. The MAIB has currently recovered the wreck of Nicola Faith (BS 58), the most recent small fishing vessel to founder, to establish why the vessel sank and its three crew lost their lives.

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One of the successes the MAIB claims is on the high-level of acceptance of MAIB recommendations by boat owners.

“The high level of acceptance of MAIB recommendations in 2020 (>90%) is good news, which validates our process of involving stakeholders in the formulation of recommendations during the final stages of the investigation,” says Captain Moll in the report.

“A number of outstanding recommendations made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency seek the introduction of more stringent stability standards for small commercial fishing vessels. It is hoped that the long-awaited revision of the Code of Practice for these craft, now due in August 2021, will satisfactorily address these recommendations and start the process of improving stability standards across this sector of the UK’s fishing fleet.”

The 79 page report is available to view by clicking here.

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