Auto-inflating lifejackets had been abandoned on the seiner Erika because water ondeck repeatedly caused them to inflate. As a result, when a seafarer was swept overboard between a sea rail and a gunwhale by a sliding seine net at night in cold seas, he stood little chance of survival.
A manually-operated lifejacket might have given him the edge.
Equally important, the incident highlights the need to properly assess the safety impact of changes made to vessels.
The Danish Marine Accident Investigation Board, which had recently released its investigation into the incidents says: “On 27 February 2011, the seiner Erika was fishing for capelin on the fishing grounds west of Iceland. At 21.00 LT, while securing the third throw of the seine for the day, one fisherman fell overboard. The remaining crew were able to recover the fisherman, but he was uconscious, and it was not possible to resuscitate him. A doctor was hoisted on board Erika from a rescue helicopter, and the doctor declared the fisherman dead”.
The report concludes: