The Marine Casualty Investigation Board 2020 Annual Report

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board 2020 Annual Report

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has published its 2020 Annual Report covering the period of 01 January to 31 December 2020.

The report shows that the MCIB commenced investigations into eight marine casualties in 2020. A total of four people lost their lives in three of the marine casualties under investigation involving fishing vessels.

The Report says the Board appreciates the great loss and distress caused to all those bereaved by, and involved in, these events.

A further 47 incidents were considered by the Board which involved cooperation between the MCIB and the accident investigation bodies of other states. These incidents were considered to be minor in nature and not warranting investigation by the MCIB or were incidents where investigations were being conducted by the flag state. Some cases required the uploading of data by Ireland onto the European Maritime Casualty Investigation Platform (EMCIP).

The MCIB also receives reports on many other incidents that ultimately are not investigated. During 2020 the MCIB assessed 13 further incidents to determine whether an investigation should be carried out, and in these cases determined that they were either minor and/or that no useful safety recommendations were likely to be forthcoming from an investigation.

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The MCIB was established 18 years ago and to the end of December 2020 it has published 242 reports into incidents under its statutory remit. The Board published twelve final marine casualty investigation reports in 2020.

Of the twelve incidents that occurred prior to January 2020 that had not been reported on by January 2020, ten reports have been completed and published. Investigations into two incidents which occurred in 2019, one involving an Olympic style rowing boat at Thomond Salmon Weir, Co. Limerick, in February 2019, and one fatal kayaking incident on Caragh River, Glencar, Co. Kerry, in November 2019, are still ongoing due to the complexities of the investigations.

The Report shows that out of a total of eight incidents, five of them were related to the fishing industry. Three of those related incidents were sinkings, four were fatalities and two were injuries.

There were five incidents involving fishing vessels, three of which resulted in the loss of life:

  • Death of two crewmembers and sinking of vessel, Duncannon, Co. Wexford (05/01/2020).
  • Loss of vessel off Sheep’s Head Co. Cork due to fire, resulting in injuries to two crewmen (04/03/2020) (report published on 23 December 2020).
  • Serious damage to vessel when it struck rocks at Blasket Islands (14/05/2020) (report published on 29 December 2020).
  • Death of a crewmember, with loss of vessel when it drifted onto rocks, Teelin, Co. Donegal (26/08/2020).
  • Death of a crewmember between Blackrock and Silverstrand in Co. Galway (2/11/2020).

 

Summary of Incidents Investigated on Fishing Vessels during 2020

 

Name of vessel/Incident: FV Alize/Fatal Incident

DATE OF INCIDENT 4 January 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Fishing vessel <15 m

TYPE OF INCIDENT Sinking

FATALITIES 2 Fatalities

SUMMARY On 3 January 2020, the fishing vessel “FV Alize” departed Duncannon Harbour with two persons onboard, to fish for scallops.

At 20.45 hours (hrs) the following day the Skipper, during a mobile telephone conversation with a family member, indicated that they were on their last tow (trawl) and would be returning to Duncannon Harbour. At 22.34 hrs Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Dublin, were advised that an Irish registered EPIRB had activated seven nautical miles (NM) southwest of Hook Head.

Dublin MRCC tasked Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter R117 and the Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboats to proceed to the EPIRB activation location. Rescue helicopter R117 recovered one person from the sea. The casualty was transported to Waterford University Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. An extensive search operation was conducted for the missing crewmember.

The wreck of “FV Alize” was located on the sea bottom in the vicinity of the EPIRB activation position. The body of the second crewmember was recovered by divers from the wreck on 24 January 2020

 

Name of vessel/Incident: FV Kayleigh

DATE OF INCIDENT 04 March 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Fishing Vessel <15 m

TYPE OF INCIDENT Fire

FATALITIES None

SUMMARY On the evening of 3 March 2020, the fishing vessel “FV Kayleigh” was fishing 9 NM southwest off Sheeps Head with two crewmen onboard when a fire broke out in the vessel’s engine compartment. The crew suffered burn injuries. The fire continued in the engine compartment and the vessel started to take in water.

The Skipper issued a Mayday distress call on VHF at 23.10 hrs that the boat was on fire and taking on water. The fishing vessel’s Beacon EPIRB was activated at 23.21 hrs when the crew abandoned the vessel and boarded an inflatable life raft. The EPIRB transmission identified the vessel as the “FV Kayleigh”.

Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat was the first on the scene and at approximately 23.58 hrs picked up the two injured crew from their life raft and immediately proceeded to Castletownbere to transfer the crewmen ashore for medical treatment. Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter R115 airlifted the two injured crewmen to Cork Airport for onward transfer by ambulance to Cork University Hospital for treatment.

The fishing vessel was abandoned and adrift and presumed to have sunk sometime early on 4 March.

 

Name of vessel/Incident: FV Dearbhla

DATE OF INCIDENT 14 May 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Fishing Vessel >15 m

TYPE OF INCIDENT Grounding

FATALITIES None

SUMMARY At approximately 04.10 hrs on the morning of 14 May 2020 while on passage from Rossaveel, Co. Galway to Howth, Co. Dublin, the fishing vessel “FV Dearbhla” with five crew onboard, struck rocks at the northwest peninsula of the island of Inish na Bró in the Blaskets archipelago off the coast of Co. Kerry.

After the initial impact the vessel was able to manoeuvre to deeper water and the crew investigated the extent of the damage. The crew were unharmed but their investigations for damage found that there was heavy contact damage to the vessel’s bows. They found no water ingress below the water line. The emergency services were not informed of the grounding and the vessel continued its voyage to Howth.

The vessel’s owner was informed of the incident at approximately 08.00 hrs that day. The owner arranged for the vessel to proceed to Castletownbere for an inspection of the damage and repairs. The inspection revealed that the vessel had considerable contact damage to its stem at the waterline and was holed above the waterline under the bows.

Name of vessel/Incident: Mirror of Justice

DATE OF INCIDENT 26 August, 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Fishing Vessel <15 m

TYPE OF INCIDENT Sinking

FATALITIES 1 Fatality

SUMMARY On 26 August 2020, the fishing vessel “Mirror of Justice” drifted onto rocks west of Teelin Bay. An extensive search and rescue operation was implemented to try to find the lone fisher who owned and operated the vessel. Due to an Atlantic swell the vessel broke up on the rocks on which it grounded. Shortly afterwards the casualty was found floating ½ mile away near debris from the wreck wearing floatation type oil skins but no PFD.

 

Name of vessel/Incident: FV Myia

DATE OF INCIDENT 2 November 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Fishing Vessel <15m

TYPE OF INCIDENT Drowning

FATALITIES 1 Fatality

SUMMARY At approximately 12.00hrs on 3 November 2020 two men left Galway on the “FV Myia” to retrieve and reset shrimp pots off the coast of Salthill. At approximately 13.30 hrs the men were resetting a train of pots when one of the men went overboard and got entangled in rope attached to the train of pots. The weight of the train of pots combined with the drift of the vessel quickly pulled him under the water.

Galway RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager was contacted by mobile phone and immediately requested activation of pagers for an immediate launch of the Inshore Lifeboat. The ILB quickly arrived on the scene and retrieved the crewman from the water. He was transferred to ambulance on arrival at the Lifeboat station and brought to Galway University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

 

Summary of Reports Published during 2020

 

Name of vessel/Incident: MFV Menhaden, Killybegs

DATE OF PUBLICATION 30 April 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Trawler >15 m

DATE OF INCIDENT 14 March 2019

SUMMARY The Casualty was last recorded on closed circuit TV (CCTV) at 00.55 hrs on Thursday 14 March 2019. His vessel, the “MFV Menhaden”, was moored outside the “MV Grip Transporter” which in turn was moored outside a third vessel, the “MFV Olgarry”. The CCTV footage captured images of the Casualty climbing the gangway from the quay onto the starboard side of the “MFV Olgarry”. He was then seen moving aft and transiting to the port side of the “MFV Olgarry” before moving out of sight behind the wheelhouse. He did not reappear on the CCTV footage forward of the wheelhouse or midships where the gangway to the “MV Grip Transporter” was rigged.

At approximately 10.30 hrs the Harbour Master was alerted that the Casualty was missing. After viewing the CCTV footage the Harbour Master contacted the Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) at Malin Head who in turn tasked Killybegs Coast Guard at 12.51 hrs. The Coast Guard boat was launched at 13.10 hrs and a shore search also commenced. At 13.25 hrs a body was sighted on the shore at the east side of the harbour. At 13.40 hrs the Coast Guard shore crew arrived on-scene and called Ballyshannon Gardaí to request their attendance with a doctor.

The evidence indicated the Casualty entered the water while transiting from the “MFV Olgarry” at approximately 01.00 hrs. Weather conditions were poor at the time with a lot of movement between vessels. There was a gangway rigged between the “MFV Olgarry” and “MV Grip Transporter” but there were no images on CCTV footage of this gangway being used by the Casualty.

INJURIES/FATALITIES 1 Fatality

CAUSE OF INCIDENT The Casualty most likely fell into the water when transiting between the “MFV Olgarry” and the “MV Grip Transporter”. Contributory factors included alcohol consumption, weather conditions and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The boarding arrangements between the “MV Grip Transporter” and “MFV Menhaden” did not include a gangway.

 

Name of vessel/Incident: MFV Ellie Adhamh

DATE OF PUBLICATION 8 May 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Trawler >15 m

DATE OF INCIDENT 19 May 2019

SUMMARY As the berthing crew were preparing to dock the “MV Stena Nordica” at approximately 03.40 hrs on the 19 May 2019, they noticed a man passing by No.3 berth. He seemed unsteady on his feet and informed the berthing crew he was going to the “MFV Ellie Adhamh”. The man was then seen to proceed towards No. 4 berth where that vessel was moored.

The last line came ashore from the “MV Stena Nordica” at approximately 03.55 hrs. A member of the berthing party then went to check to see if the man was alright. As he approached the “MFV Ellie Adhamh” he heard a noise coming from between the vessel and the quay wall. The other members of the berthing crew arrived and located the Casualty face down in the water.

The berthing crew then contacted the Duty Port Controller who contacted the emergency services. The “MV Stena Nordica” launched its rescue boat and they recovered the Casualty. They landed him at the Lifeboat Station but despite medical intervention the Casualty did not survive

INJURIES/FATALITIES 1 Fatality

CAUSE OF INCIDENT It is likely that there was considerable movement of the vessel due to manoeuvring of the “MV Stena Nordica” in close proximity to it. As the much larger vessel went astern into its berth it would have caused considerable water flow in the vicinity of the “MFV Ellie Adhamh”.

Safe means of access to the vessel at all states of tide was not evident.

The toxicological analysis report from the post mortem confirmed the Casualty was under the influence of alcohol and would have been a danger to himself and others in the port area at the time of the incident.

No PFD was worn by the Casualty.

Rosslare Europort does not have bye laws regulating the operation of fishing vessels operating within its jurisdiction.

 

Name of vessel/Incident: FV Dillon Owen

DATE OF PUBLICATION 26 June 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Fishing Vessel >15 m

DATE OF INCIDENT 23 October 2019

SUMMARY On the morning of 23 October 2019, the “FV Dillon Owen”, whilst approaching Ardglass Harbour, Northern Ireland, lost power and drifted onto rocks at Phennick Point. The five crewmembers were airlifted to safety. Attempts by RNLI lifeboats to tow the vessel were unsuccessful and the fishing vessel remained on the rocks pending a salvage operation. The “FV Dillon Owen” sank over the following days.

The wreck was recovered and sent for demolition.

There were no injuries to the crew or pollution of the environment connected with this incident.

INJURIES/FATALITIES None.

CAUSE OF INCIDENT This incident was a sequence of three distinct events: the initial grounding; the loss of power; and finally the second grounding and sinking of the “FV Dillon Owen”.

The initial grounding at the entrance to Ardglass Harbour had a number of causative factors:

  • Entering Ardglass Harbour two hours before high tide in a loaded condition.
  • Entering Ardglass Harbour without a formal passage/pilotage plan.
  • Failure to observe the harbour’s navigation aids.
  • The watchkeeper’s loss of spatial awareness as to the position of the entrance channel with reference to the safe depth of water.

 

Name of vessel/Incident: MFV Suzanne II

DATE OF PUBLICATION 14 August 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Fishing Vessel >15 m

DATE OF INCIDENT 2 May 2019

SUMMARY On 2 May 2019 a fishing vessel 30 NM east of Arklow was stopped while the crew were taking a break between fishing activities when a crewmember observed smoke coming from an engine room vent. The weather at the time was good.

The Skipper went to investigate the source of the smoke and soon realised that there was a serious fire in the engine room. He made an attempt to fight the fire, but the level of smoke hampered any effort. The smoke and fire very quickly engulfed the vessel’s accommodation and wheelhouse. The crew retrieved the vessel’s EPIRB and abandoned ship to an inflatable life raft.

A passing angling vessel sighted the smoke from the burning fishing vessel and proceeded in the direction to investigate. On arriving on-scene the angling vessel recovered the three crewmembers from their life raft. Shortly afterwards the Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter R117 arrived and lowered a paramedic to assess the crew from the fishing vessel. The Skipper was airlifted to University Hospital Waterford from where he was later discharged, while the two other crewmembers were brought to Arklow Harbour.

A short time later a tug boat with fire fighting capabilities arrived on-scene and commenced fighting the fire onboard the fishing vessel. The fishing vessel continued to burn and eventually sank.

INJURIES/FATALITIES 1 Injury

CAUSE OF INCIDENT The source of the fire is unknown. It started in the engine room and rapidly got out of control. Once the fire was well established it engulfed the vessel and being of timber construction it continued to fuel the fire until the entire vessel was ablaze. Had it been possible to contain the fire by closing dampers and access hatches this might have starved the fire of oxygen and allowed the crew more time in preparing to abandon the vessel. It is, however, unlikely that a fire of this ferocity could have been fully contained and extinguished by the vessel’s crew.

Whether the fire detection system did sound but was not heard or whether it failed to alert the crew is unknown. Most likely the fire detection system did not sound as it is improbable that it would not have been heard. Not sounding could have been due to a recent defect or a longer standing one that would have been picked up if there was a monthly check or damaged by the fire itself before it could sound. There is no record as to when the system was last tested or inspected as the vessel’s onboard records were lost in the incident. Regulations (S.I. 640 0f 2007) state the following: “131. (a) Inspections of the life-saving equipment and fire appliances shall be made at intervals of not more than one month.” It is a requirement under the Regulations to carry out monthly inspections. The fire detection system functioning properly and sounding would have given the crew earlier warning of the fire and possibly have enabled a more effective effort at fighting the fire.

The damage caused by a fire burning for this duration and the tug’s continued attempt at fire fighting resulted in a loss of buoyancy and the eventual sinking of the fishing vessel.

 

Name of vessel/Incident: FV Kayleigh

DATE OF PUBLICATION 23 December 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Fishing Vessel <15 m

DATE OF INCIDENT 4 March,2020

SUMMARY On the evening of 3 March 2020, a fishing vessel 9 NM southwest off Sheeps Head with two crewmen onboard was fishing when a fire broke out in the vessel’s engine compartment. The crew suffered burn injuries. The fire continued in the engine compartment and the vessel started to take in water.

The Skipper issued a Mayday distress call on VHF at 23.10 hrs that the boat was on fire and taking on water. The fishing vessel’s EPIRB was activated at 23.21 hrs when the crew abandoned the vessel and boarded an inflatable life raft. The EPIRB transmission identified the vessel as the “FV Kayleigh”.

Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat was the first on the scene and at approximately 23.58 hrs picked up the two injured crew from their life raft and immediately proceeded to Castletownbere to transfer the crewmen ashore for medical treatment. Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter R115 airlifted the two injured crewmen to Cork Airport for onward transfer by ambulance to Cork University Hospital for treatment. The fishing vessel was abandoned and adrift and presumed to have sunk sometime early on 4 March.

INJURIES/FATALITIES 2 crew with Injuries

CAUSE OF INCIDENT At was considered more probable than not, that the source of the fire first seen by the Skipper when he looked into the engine compartment was in the vicinity of the engine exhaust pipes or battery bank where lub-oil was ignited by the hot exhaust pipes and caught fire. The resulting fire would likely have followed the leaking oil which spilled over onto the lower part of the engine and floor plates. The fire in this area would have been likely to have come in direct contact with the engine seawater cooling flexible hose and the hull.

The plastic materials of the hose and/or the hull caught fire and were burned through to a degree that the material(s) broke down, losing their intrinsic strength and allowed seawater to enter and flood the engine compartment. Thick black smoke emitting from the compartment after the fire ball supports the hypothesis that the plastic component of the hull and/or the plastic flexible pipes were on fire by the time the Skipper opened the hatch the second time and the crew were injured by the fireball.

 

Name of vessel/Incident: FV Dearbhla

DATE OF PUBLICATION 29 December 2020

TYPE OF CRAFT Fishing Vessel >15 m

DATE OF INCIDENT 14 May 2020

SUMMARY At approximately 04.10 on the morning of 14 May 2020 while on passage from Rossaveel, Co. Galway to Howth, Co. Dublin, the fishing vessel “FV Dearbhla” with five crew onboard, struck rocks at the northwest peninsula of the island of Inish na Bró in the Blaskets archipelago off the coast of Co. Kerry.

After the initial impact the vessel was able to manoeuvre to deeper water and the crew investigated the extent of the damage. The crew were unharmed but their investigations for damage found that there was heavy contact damage to the vessel’s bows. They found no water ingress below the water line. The emergency services were not informed of the grounding and the vessel continued its voyage to Howth.

The vessel’s owner was informed of the incident at approximately 08.00 hrs that day. The owner arranged for the vessel to proceed to Castletownbere for an inspection of the damage and repairs. The inspection revealed that the vessel had considerable contact damage to its stem at the waterline and was holed above the waterline under the bows.

INJURIES/FATALITIES None

CAUSE OF INCIDENT The Watchkeeper Alarm panel keyed switch facility was switched off when the watchkeeper left the wheelhouse and not turned on return.

By falling asleep whilst on watch in the wheelhouse the watchkeeper did not make the necessary course alteration to keep the vessel in safe and navigable waters. The vessel grounded on rocks.

The incident may have been averted if the required course change to navigate Blasket Sound safely was better supervised. The incident may have been averted if there were adequate facilities in the wheelhouse to make beverages and therefore allow watchkeepers to take light refreshments.

The incident may have been averted if the Watchkeeper Alarm panel keyed switch facility had been used as intended by its designer.

No evidence was provided demonstrating that the crew had received adequate training to reduce the risks of endangering the health and safety of the crew or preventing accidents.

 

Incidents set out under were considered by the MCIB but not investigated

Some of these incidents involved cooperation with other flag states or in some case the uploading of key data onto the European Maritime Casualty Investigation Platform (EMCIP).

The full report can be viewed by clicking here.

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Marine Casualty Investigation Board publishes 2020 Annual Report

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