The MCIB has released its investigation report into an incident onboard the FV Marliona at Greencastle, County Donegal. Photo: MCIB
The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has released its report on an investigation involving the FV “Marliona” at Greencastle, County Donegal on 03 February 2021.
On the afternoon of 03 February 2021, a serious marine casualty occurred on the “Marliona” while alongside Greencastle harbour. During a repair process the skippers left arm became trapped by a troll door causing severe damage to his arm.
First aid was administered by another crew member and the bleeding was stopped. The ambulance was called and arrived at approximately 2.30pm and the casualty was transferred to nearest hospital where he was treated for his injuries. The hospital treated the casualties which they managed to save. He was released the same day but continued to receive treatment and only return to work in May 2021.
The “Marliona” is a 32.5 metre Irish-registered trawler which operates mainly from the harbour at Greencastle, situated at the entrance of Lough Foyle. The boat was docked just inside the breakwater on the north end of the harbour, portside with its stern close to the quay wall, pointed in a WNW direction. The boat was tied using a bow line, stern line and two springer lines, one forward and one aft.
The “Marliona” had returned at 10.00 that morning from a five-day fishing trip and was due to remain in port for 24 hours. At approximately 2.00pm the crew were working the fishing gear onboard the vessel getting ready for the next fishing trip. One of the jobs involved changing a chain-link on the starboard trawl door.
A crew member found that the chain-link was jammed against the door and inaccessible in that position. He requested that the winch be slacked to allow the chain-link to be released. The skipper slacked the winch and switched off the winch power. This placed more weight on the dog chains. The chain-link was now more accessible, however the trawl door was now more susceptible to movement as it was less secure.
It was during this operation that the incident occurred. After two other crew members were unable to remove the chain-link, the casualty himself took over the operation. He reached down over the gunwhale with his left arm on the starboard stern corner, to hold the chain-link straight so that Crewmember C could knock out the pin of the chain-link to release it. He had to reach further down as the trawl door was secured lower than normal. The vessel rolled slightly to starboard and to port, and the ropes also tightened up. Then the trawl door moved trapping the arm of the Casualty.
Just prior to the incident, the vessel moved from a surge or other vessel movements in the harbour, and this, the Report believes caused the door to move trapping the Casualty’s arm.
In the MCIB Report’s ‘Conclusion’ it was found that:
- There was a failure to identify the consequences of the trawl door not being in the correct position.
- There was a failure to take into account the possibility of additional vessel movement from the harbour.
- This operation should have been done on the quay wall, i.e., the door should have been landed onto the quay and the chain-link removed there. This would have been a quick operation to complete in a safe manner.
- The absence of a safety assessment and a method statement in the safety statement for this type of operation was a contributory factor to the incident.
- The time sheets were inspected, and inconsistencies were noted. The MCIB can make no finding about compliance or non-compliance with the Regulations as that is within the jurisdiction of the MSO.
- Irrespective of whether there was or was not compliance with the Regulations, it cannot be discounted that fatigue may have been a contributory human factor.
- It is likely that another human factor was that of time pressure to effect the repairs during a limited time in port before the next fishing trip.
- As Crewmember B had recently completed his first aid course in November, he was able to act appropriately to prevent the Casualty from bleeding out and dying. It is not the function of this investigation to determine if there was compliance with S.I. No. 587/2001 – Fishing Vessel (Basic Safety Training) Regulations 2001.
The MCIB Report into the incident made several recommendations:
- The Minister for Transport should issue a Marine Notice reminding fishing vessel owners and operators of the great importance of safety & risk assessments, that a hazards identification process should be carried out in respect of operations, that a risk assessment should be carried out in respect of hazardous operations, and that method statements should be compiled for all hazardous activities on fishing vessels and kept under active review. The Marine Notice should emphasise the importance of ensuring that the risk assessments and methodology are communicated fully and effectively to all relevant crew, and that should involve interpreters if required.
- The Minister for Transport should issue a Marine Notice reminding • fishing vessel owners and operators of fishing vessels, of the dangers of working with trawl doors. • that the physical hazards associated with trawling, including beam trawling and scallop dredging, should include working with fishing gear in port and all lifting operations since this is work with suspended loads. • fishing vessel owners and operators of fishing vessels, that crewmembers are to be especially careful not to put their limbs in crush zones. Each trawler should be risk assessed for crush zones and should be visibly marked with stencils or signage.
- The Minister for Transport should review Marine Notice No. 60 of 2021 in light of this Report and consider whether an updated Marine Notice should issue with regard to first aid training or other aspects of the regulations.
- The Minister for Transport should review existing health and safety training of fishers in the light of this Report.
- The Minister for Transport should ensure that the Marine Survey Office has the capacity for the audit of working time to ensure compliance with those Regulations and to ensure adherence to the requirements in S.I. No. 591/2021 European Union (Minimum Safety and Health Requirements for Improved Medical Treatment on Board Vessels) Regulations 2021.
- The owners of the “FV Marliona” should carry out a hazards identification process in respect of operations, that a safety & risk assessment should be carried out in respect of hazardous operations, and that method statements should be compiled for all hazards that the risk assessments and methodology are communicated fully and effectively to all relevant crewmembers (and all new relevant crew), and that should involve interpreters if required. 28 SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS All lifting operations are to be identified as hazardous operations, to be properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out to protect the safety of crew.
- The owners of the “FV Marliona” should conduct a review into the working processes on the vessel to including work and rest arrangements, manning, and training, to ensure that fatigue is not a possible contributory factor to unsafe practises or incidents.
- The owners of the “FV Marliona” should conduct a review to ensure that all of their crewmembers comply with all of the requirements of S.I. No. 591/2021 European Union (Minimum Safety and Health Requirements for Improved Medical Treatment on Board Vessels) Regulations 2021.