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Friday, January 10, 2020 

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch has published its report into a fatal fall onboard a fishing vessel in Kilkeel, Norther Ireland in April 2019.

The skipper of the UK registered fishing vessel Artemis fell through an internal wheelhouse hatch on to the deck below. As a result of the fall, he suffered a fatal head injury. The vessel was berthed alongside and the skipper had just returned from an afternoon ashore with one of the deckhands. They had both spent three hours in a local public house drinking alcohol.

The report summarises the following safety issues:

  • the skipper was significantly under the influence of alcohol when he slipped, tripped or fell through the wheelhouse hatch
  • post-build modifications to the design of the wheelhouse hatch had increased the likelihood of someone falling through the opening and suffering serious injury
  • MAIB accident statistics indicate that, since, 1992, alcohol was a contributing factor in 62% of the 42 fishing fatalities that have occurred while in port

As a result, the vessel’s owners have been recommended to review the design of the means of access between the wheelhouse and the mess deck; update their drug and alcohol policy; and, ensure that all crew are issued with fishermen’s work agreements. A further recommendation has been made to the Sea Fish Industry Authority and Rockall Ltd to amend the generic drug and alcohol policies contained in their online safety management folders.

A safety flyer to the fishing industry highlighting a number of the safety lessons was produced for this report.

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