MCA: concern over level of fishing fatalities –

MCA: concern over level of fishing fatalities Published:  03 December, 2004

SAFETY chiefs have underlined the need for increased safety awareness among Britain’s fishermen, as the death toll in the industry stays depressingly high.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency told Fishing Monthly that while the cause of incidents leading to three fatalities since September was still being investigated, action on safety could in general be broken down into three main areas:

What you can do before you go to sea.

What you can do while at sea.

What to do in an emergency

Although they said there are many aspects to each of these areas, the agency added that a number of key actions could be taken before going to sea. For example, fishermen should attend safety-training courses, which are mandatory from January 1st 2005.

Some are still free until March 31st 2005. Details of courses fishermen needed to do, where to get them and whether they are free are available from Seafish on 01482 327 837.

Fishermen risk being detained if a skipper and crew do not have the safety training after 1 January 1st 2005.

Other action needed before setting sail included checks that

vessel alarms are working; seacocks and pipework are in good order and that there is adequate fuel and oil. Other checks should be carried out on to ensure:lifesaving and fire fighting equipment is in date, and readily available.

radio and electronic equipment is working, freeing ports are clear and operating,that everything is stowed safely and securely,

and that everyone knows what to do in an emergency and practices drills.

It is also necessary, says the agency, to check on weather conditions before a trip.

“Take action on the results, for example, consider buying an EPIRB if you don’t already have one,” an MCA spokeswoman underlined. Telling someone your plans for the trip was another need: “If you are late back, then the Coastguard can be told that something might be wrong and where to look,” she added. At sea, ` wear a lifejacket, wear proper clothing, don’t overload your vessel and try and avoid becoming fatigued. In an emergency call the coastguard

And follow drills you have practiced before going to sea”

There have been a number of recent deaths.

Tragedy struck in the Co Down port of Kilkeel on November 10th when news came of one of its crab boats, the 33ft Emerald Dawn with two men on board, had sunk some six miles of the County Down coast.

The two missing men were named as 28-year-old Shane Murnaghan and his friend 30-year-old Colin Donnelly, both natives of Kilkeel.

* is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish European Fish Trader, Fishing Monthly, Fish Farming Today, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Fishermens’ Federation Diary, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.

MCA, coastguard, RNLI, sinking, Emerald Dawn, safety at sea