Nadi Sehsaah, an Egyptian fisherman, will no longer go home to his family. At night, in benign weather conditions, he fell 1.8 metres into the sea from the fishing vessel Janireh 20 nautical miles south west of Mizen Head, County Cork, Ireland. His body was not recovered. He was not wearing a lifejacket.
It is a lesson that is taking a long time learning.
A report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board of Ireland describes in chilling detail the failed attempts to save a man who, had he been wearing a lifejacket, may well have lived.
He fell while trying to fix a problem with the trawl gear. At the time he was wearing atwo-piece bib & brace type yellow fisherman’s oilskins and hood, fitted with fluorescent strips. He was bare headed, and wearing white wellington-type rubber boots, but no flotation device.
Still towing gear, the vessel swung hard-a-starboard and Sehsaah was sighted some 4 – 5 boat lengths off, slightly aft of midships starboard, with the deck lights picking up the reflective strips on his oil skin hood. His only reaction was to raise his hand.
sight of him was lost for a moment as the bow came across but he was again having taken up position portside midships as the vessel came
slowly down portside on to the man in the water. The Skipper manoeuvred the vessel to within some 4.57 m of Sehsaah, who was face down in the water with his hands outstretched.
A crewmember threw a lifebuoy which landed beside Sehsaah, then a line which landed on top of him while also shouting at him. There was no reaction.
While the vessel was being brought about to get closer to Sehsaah its propeller became fouled. While attempts were being made to clear the propeller Sehsaah’s body drifted into the darkness and remains unrecovered.
Says the MCIB report: “The vessel was not manned in compliance with the Fishing Vessels (Certification of Deck Officers and Engineer Officers) Regulations, 1988 (S.I. No. 289 of 1988) as amended. With a Registered length of 21.92 m, compliance with the Regulations required the vessel to be manned by a Deck Officer holding a Second Hand Special Certificate of Competency. The Skipper did not hold the requisite
“There are no records to show that Messrs. Christopher Deasy, Denis Deasy or Nadi Sehsaah had carried out Basic Safety Training in compliance with Fishing Vessel (Basic Safety Training) Regulations, 2001 (S.I. No. 587 of 2001).
“The vessel rated as Class 11 under the Fishing Vessel (Radio Installations) Regulations, 1998 (S.I. No. 544 of 1998) which requires the operator of a vessel operating in the sea area A1 to hold at least a Radio Operator’s Short Range Certificate granted by the Director of Telecommunications Regulations. There are no records to show that Mr. Christopher Deasy held such Certificate”.
In its conclusions, the MCIB says: “There is an onus on the fishing industry including the representative organisations, vessel owners, skippers and crews amongst others to take responsibility for the safety of the industry and they should work to improve the safety culture within the fishing industry. For this reason the Board recommends the implementation of an appropriate Safety Management System for such vessels, in particular the wearing of lifejackets/PFDs by crew at all times”.
Most fisherman who die falling overboard without a lifejacket do not die because of the inherent hazards of the business but because commonsense got left behind on the dock.