The MAIB Annual Report 2019 has recorded six casualties in the UK Fishing Industry
Investigating commercial fishing vessel accidents continues to be a significant part of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s (MAIB) work, mainly as a result of fatalities and vessel losses, says Chief Inspector, Captain Andrew Moll
“Six people lost their lives in marine accidents, the same number as in 2018. While this number appears low, given the small numbers of professional fishermen it represents, it is still a very high fatality rate compared to other UK industries,” says Captain Moll in the MAIB Report 2019.
The fishing industry is classified as the most dangerous occupation in the world but there have been great attempts by the UK fishing industry in recent years to bring these figures down.
In 2017, there were 57 outstanding recommendations that the MAIB made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency with eight new recommendations awaiting implementation. In 2018 the outstanding recommendations had been reduced to 21 with 11 new recommendations and by 2019 there were 14 outstanding recommendations with one new recommendation waiting to be implemented.
But as much as the MAIB can make recommendations, it is up to the individual themselves to take the correct course of action.
A great deal of effort has been expended by the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG) to promote the wearing of personal flotation devices (PFDs), and in November 2018 the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) published Marine Guidance Note 5881, making clear its expectation that fishermen wear PFDs on the working decks of fishing vessels.
“That none of the three fishermen who died in the water in 2019 were wearing PFDs is therefore of great concern,” says Captain Moll. “Based on recent figures, embedding this behavioural change could halve the fatality rate in the fishing industry.”
In 2019 the Branch made 24 recommendations, of which 20 were promptly and fully accepted, indicating that the Branch continues to make targeted, proportionate recommendations.
The MCA has continued its efforts to complete the actions required to enable recommendations to be closed.
Many long standing recommendations made to the Agency have finally been actioned, including a number aimed at reducing the fatality rate in the fishing industry.
Working with the FISG, the MCA has now developed a Fishing Strategy that addresses a number of MAIB recommendations that targeted PFD wear and accidents to persons.
However, the elements of the strategy designed to improve small fishing vessel stability, still a contributory factor in many fatal accidents, remain outstanding.
You can read the full Annual MAIB Report 2019