Patriot: Dead Seafarers Did Not Wear Lifejackets

 Accident, Accident report, capsize, fishing boat,, Sinking  Comments Off on Patriot: Dead Seafarers Did Not Wear Lifejackets
Sep 192010
 

image Captain Matteo Russo, 36, and his 59-year-old father-in-law, John Orlando, died within 10 minutes of being thrown into the 5.5 degrees celsius cold waters of Middle Bank, off the Massachusetts coast. Autopsies on both men conclude that they died of drowning in a matter of seconds. Both bodies were found without lifejackets or other personal protective equipment.

The final report does not make reference to cold shock, a condition in which muscle and breath control is lost, may lead to a coronary emergency, and which can lead to drowning, and is the most immediate hazard when immersed in cold water.

Cold shock occurs over a period of seconds. It is unlikely that the men would have been able to climb aboard the liferaft, which had inflated and deployed enough to be used.

A casualty who survives cold shock and is wearing a lifejacket, can survive an hour or more in cold water until hypothermia, the lowering of body core-temperature to an unsustainable level, occurs, which significantly increases the chances of rescue. Continue reading »

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MAIB Fishing Digest – Tales From The Deadly Side – “1 in 20 UK fishermen can expect to die in an accident”

 Accident, fishing, maritime safety  Comments Off on MAIB Fishing Digest – Tales From The Deadly Side – “1 in 20 UK fishermen can expect to die in an accident”
Jun 032010
 

imageSafety in the fishing industry isn’t what it should be and the latest Safety Digest from Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch offers worrying statistics from mouths for survivors – and those who have watched helplessly as workmates died because safety equipment wasn’t used or procedures not in place.

Raymond Strachan, skipper of Maggie Ann, remembers: “…one of my crew
lost his balance when a rope parted that was attached to one of the scallop bellys.

Continue reading »

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New Dawn Skipper's Bravery Praised But Better Rescue Procedures Required

 accident reporting, MAIB  Comments Off on New Dawn Skipper's Bravery Praised But Better Rescue Procedures Required
Sep 182008
 

Britain’s Maritime Accident Investigation Branch has praised the skipper of the trawler New Dawn for his attempts to rescue a Filipino seafarer, Reynaldo Benitez, swept overboard by a towing chain but told the vessel ownewr, Fuimus LLP, to review onboard equipment and rescue procedures.

During routine twin rig trawling shooting operations in international waters on the night of 13th August, says the MAIB’s preliminary report: “After attaching the port and starboard towing chains to the trawl wires, two crewmen worked at attaching the centre chain in an area of considerable danger, between the port and starboard chains. Once attached to the towing chains, the load on the trawl wires was transferred onto the chains. It was during this operation that one crewman was caught between the chains and the vessel’s bulwark rail, and was subsequently carried overboard.”

The vessel’s skipper, Chaz Bruce, jumped overboard in a rescue attempt but himself began to suffer the effects of cold water. It was only with great difficulty that the rest of the crew managed to bring the skipper back onboard. The fallen seafarer remains missing.

New Dawn appears in the BBC Television Series Trawlermen which began a new set of episodes in August.

Following the incident, Fuimus LLP modified the procedure utilised when attaching towing chains to the trawl warps, so that the middle towing chain is attached before the port and starboard chains; Made the wearing of inflatable lifejackets compulsory for all crew during shooting and hauling operations and established procedures to ensure that all crew are in positions of safety before the load from trawl warps is transferred to the towing chains.

MAIB’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the vessel’s owner to acknowledge the actions taken since the accident, and “the valiant attempt made by the skipper to rescue his colleague overboard. However, the Deputy Chief Inspector also recognised the personal danger the skipper placed himself in while attempting this rescue, and suggested the owner may wish to review the equipment available on board the vessel, and procedures which may be adopted, to better facilitate the recovery of a person from the sea”.

MAC would like to make a few comments that might be more generally applicable. It can be very difficult to recover someone, even conscious and in good conditions, from the water without training, practice or the right equipment. Review your ability to do it.

Lifejackets too often go by-the-by on small working vessels, New Dawn was nearly 15 metres. There are all sorts of rationalisations for not wearing one, in the same way that some folk ‘rationalise’ not wearing a seatbelt in a car. Despite bright colours and reflective tape its hard enough to find a lifejacket-wearing MOB at night even in moderate weather, without a lifejacket your chances of being found are slim to none.

Think of a lifejacket as a condom – to be worn, if possible, on every conceivable occasion.

Also, jobs sometimes get done the same way, day after day, year after year without anyone asking ‘is there a safer way to do this job?’. Eventually, the job becomes standard operating procedure – it’s done that way because it’s always been done that way. Making a job safer may be as simple as changing the order it which it is done. Is there a job that can be done safer on your vessel?

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