Jan 242013
Position of when the wave hit.

Position of Nikolai Nedoliz when the wave hit.

A dangerous work practice, lack of knowledge of how to recover a man in the water and no life jacket meant that 35 year-old Nikolai Nedoliz had little chance to survive when a wave swamped the stern of the fishing vessel Zenith i29 miles south east of Kilkeel,

Says the MAIB in its analysis: “Nikolai Nedoliz lost his life while carrying out an intrinsically unsafe task which had become custom and practice on board Zenith over time. The task of manually spreading the bridles and net wings apart during hauling was only carried out to speed up the following shooting process and did not need to be carried out at all”.

The practice of working from the top rail was clearly unsafe, and it was only a matter of time before it led to an accident. Falling from the rail into the sea or onto the deck was not the only danger this task presented; the act of manually pushing bridle wires and net wings apart as they wound on to the net drum could also have resulted in being dragged into the revolving drums.

Other crew members saw the wave approaching from the stern they shouted forcefully to Mr Nedoliz several times to get down from the top rail. However, Mr Nedoliz looked uncomprehendingly at his colleagues and remained in position. The wave swamped the vessel’s stern and carried Mr Nedoliz from the top rail and into the sea.

Mr Nedoliz demonstrated a severe lack of self-preservation by standing on the top rail and ignoring his colleagues’ warning shouts.

A life-ring was thrown into the sea. It landed about 2m from the man in the water, whose face was blue and was swimming weakly was unable to reach it. The vessel was manoeuvred alongside Mr Nedolitz and an attached was made to assist him using a prawn rake. The attempt failed and Mr. Nedolitz sank under the water and did not reappear.

Historically, very few skippers have complied with the regulations regarding onboard emergency training and, as a result, a very small number of fishermen have experienced the benefit of dedicated training and emergency drills on their own vessels. Zenith was no exception to this, and no training or drills for emergencies had been carried out on board the vessel.

MOB retrieval equipment was onboard that might have made the casualty’s recovery easier and quicker, and had been for eight years, but no-one aboard knew it was there. No lanyard was attached to the life ring thrown towards the casualty so he could not have been pulled back on board even if he had reached the ring.

The vessel was not equipped with a boat hook or any other means of holding an incapacitated casualty alongside nor was there plan for the recovery of either a conscious or an incapacitated casualty from the water.

Inevitably, Mr. Nedolitz was no wearing a lifejacket that might not only have kept him afloat the MAIB report: “long enough for rescue but may also have reduced the effects of cold shock on his heart.

Says MAIB: “Although the provision of lifejackets or other PFDs on board Zenith was mandatory, legislatively there was no requirement for the crew to wear one when working on deck. However, that did not prevent the owners from identifying such need under their duty of care, and insisting that PFDs were worn on board their vessels. Zenith’s owners did make inflatable lifejackets available, but made no obligation upon crew members to wear them”.

The MAIB has investigated numerous fatal accidents involving crew going overboard from fishing vessels. A common theme in many of these accidents has been the difficulty the crew experienced in recovering the casualty back on board. A few of the accidents bearing similarities to the one that occurred on Zenith include:

• 9 October 2010, a crewman was dragged overboard by fishing gear from Flying Cloud2. His colleagues had great difficulty in recovering him back on board although he was still alive when initially retrieved alongside the vessel.
• 11 November 2009, a crewman was dragged overboard from Osprey III3. His colleagues were unable to recover him on board despite him being alive alongside the vessel for several minutes.
• 6 November 2009, a crewman standing on a catch sorting tray almost level with the bulwark top rail, fell overboard from Korenbloem4. Two crewmen jumped overboard in rough sea conditions and, with the help of colleagues, recovered the casualty back on board. However, the casualty did not survive.
• 12 February 2009, a crewman was lost from the fishing vessel Maggie Ann5 when he went overboard while standing on a bulwark top rail during a routine hauling operation.
• 13 September 2007, a crewman was dragged overboard from Apollo6. The crew had great difficulty in recovering him back on board despite him being alive when initially taken alongside the vessel.

No form of PFD was worn by any of the casualties in these accidents.

During the period 2000-2011 (inclusive) 34 fatal MOB accidents occurred from UK registered fishing vessels during normal deck working operations7 where the casualties were not wearing any form of PFD.

Read the report

See Also

Wear That Lifejacket, Save Your Family Some Grief

Fishing Fatalities: Time To Stop Shrugging Shoulders

Too Proud To Wear A Lifejacket? Here’s What It Means For Your Family

MFV Janireh Another No-lifejacket Fatality

MCA Urges ‘Wear Lifejackets’

Deadly Bights Are Deadlier Without Lifejackets

MCIB: MOB Mystery, Wasn’t Wearing Lifejacket

Lessons from Bantry Bay fishing tragedy

Patriot: Dead Seafarers Did Not Wear Lifejackets

Ever Elite MOB Fatality – Lessons From A Systemic Death

BSU Releases MOB Report – No Lifejacket, Again

Safety Alert – MOB, Lifejackets, Hazard Assessment and Wear

Will Your PFD Snag?

Does Scottish trawler tragedy highlight call for life jacket redesign?

Flying Cloud MOB Fatality, Separation, Knives and Lifejacket Might Have Saved Life

Booze, Lack of PPE Led To Fatal MOB




Booze, Lack of PPE Led To Fatal MOB

 Accident, Accident report, lifejacket, Man Overboard  Comments Off on Booze, Lack of PPE Led To Fatal MOB
Jun 062011

Not a place to be when under the influence

Stanislaw Bania, was Polish, 58 years old and an experienced AB. His career, and his life ended when he fell from a ladder on the the St Vincent and the Grenadines registered cargo vessel  Joanna while alongside in Glasgow, Scotland, 13 December 2010. Analysis of postmortem blood revealed that Stanislaw had a blood alcohol concentration of 193mg/100ml.

The Marine Acidient Investigation Brranch investigation identified that the AB almost certainly fell while climbing up  to the port side platform of the straddle lift used to move the vessel’s cargo  hatch covers. It also found that: the AB was working while under the influence  of alcohol; the means of access to the straddle lift platforms used by the ship’s crew were unsafe; the opening and closing of the cargo hatch covers had not been identified as a key element within the onboard procedures, and therefore the risks of accessing and operating the straddle lift had not been assessed; and important personal protective equipment (PPE) was either not available on board, or was not fit for purpose.

The vessel’s manager has implemented a drug and alcohol policy, renewed its shipboard operations and risk assessments, provided new procedures for the operation of the straddle lift, and provided replacement PPE on board Joanna. Continue reading »

MAIB To Assist BSU in fatal collision probe

 Accident, collision, fatality  Comments Off on MAIB To Assist BSU in fatal collision probe
Apr 252011

Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch is to assist Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Accident Investigation in the investigation of the collision between the UK-registered OOCL Finland and the Russian registered Tyumen-2 at about 0500UTC on 14 April,2011 in restricted visibility. A pilot and a channel controller aboard Tymen-2 were killed and two others seriously injured in the incident.

Russian authorities have already blamed the incident on the OOCL Finland although no investigation had been carried out. Continue reading »

Do You Pay Enough Attention To Gorillas?

 maritime safety news, publications  Comments Off on Do You Pay Enough Attention To Gorillas?
Apr 042011

Don Cockrill is a familiar name to MAC. He is chairman of the UK Maritime Pilots Association, a Pilot at Port of London Authority and, like MAC, a gorilla enthusiast. To be more precise, an invisible gorilla enthusiast.

The invisible gorilla differs from that other member of the human factor menagerie, the Elephant In The Room, in that everyone knows the elephant is there but nobody wants to admit seeing it while folk don’t see the gorilla in the room because they are too focussed on one task and loose situational awareness.

In the latest MAIB Safety Digest Don writes: “Being aware of our own fallibility adds a significant enhancement to any training regime or the compliance with an operational code of practice. There are numerous published works on the subject, but one I can recommend that amusing and very relevant is the memorably titled The Invisible Gorilla“. Continue reading »

Wrong Rubber Fired Up Oscar Wilde

 Accident report, engine room, Ferry, fire  Comments Off on Wrong Rubber Fired Up Oscar Wilde
Mar 102011

Firefighters on dockside - burst disk was hot stuff aboard Oscar Wilde

A rubber diaphragm made of the wrong material, rust and scale-disabled high-expansion foam total flooding system, lack of maintenance local application and bilge foam systems and lack of thermal insulation resulted in spread of fire aboard the Bahamas-flagged ro-ro ferry Oscar Wilde says the MAIB report on the 2 February 2010 incident.

Says the MAIB: “At approximately 1913 on 2 February 2010, a fire broke out in the auxiliary engine room on board the Bahamas registered roll-on roll-off passenger ferry Oscar Wilde. The ferry had just sailed from Falmouth, UK, after completing her annual docking. The seat of the fire was in way of the auxiliary engines’ fuel supply module and quickly spread across the compartment. The fire was eventually extinguished by the ship’s crew at 2100. There were no passengers on board and none of the ship’s crew were injured. However, the fire caused the vessel to lose electrical power, which ultimately required her to be towed back into Falmouth for repairs.
Continue reading »

MAIB Cautions, Appeals After QM2 Capacitor Blast

 Accident, Accident report, explosion  Comments Off on MAIB Cautions, Appeals After QM2 Capacitor Blast
Dec 032010

Soot staining on the blown-out doors of the harmonic filter casing

Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, has issued an urgent Safety Digest which recommends checks on vessels with electric propulsion which have large capacitors in harmonic filters and has appealed for information regrading similar events elsewhere. The bulletin follows the catastrophic failure of a capacitor and explosion in an 11kV harmonic filter on board the passenger cruise vessel RMS Queen Mary 2.

At 0426 (UTC+1) on 23 September 2010, the cruise liner RMS Queen Mary 2 was approaching Barcelona when one of 12 capacitors in a harmonic filter1 failed (Figure 1), accompanied by a loud explosion. The explosion resulted in extensive damage to the surrounding electric panels and caused the vessel to black out. There were no navigational hazards nearby, main power was restored at 0455 and the ship was able to get back underway at 0523.

Continue reading »

Sep 162010

image Inspectors from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, boarded the Singapore-registered bulker Alam Pintar in Hamburg they discovered a crime: The master had tampered with ship’s documents and the voyage data recorder to conceal evidence that not only had the vessel collided with, and sunk, the fishing vessel Etoile des Ondes with the loss of a life, but had ignored obligations to those in distress. Crewmember testimony of events ‘conflicted’ with AIS and radar recordings from other sources.

Any decision to prosecute will be up to Singapore, the Alam Pintar’s flag state.

The newly-released MAIB report raises a number of issues of frustration and concern.

Continue reading »

British Cormorant FRB Drops, Injures

 Accident, Accident report, ATSB, Australia  Comments Off on British Cormorant FRB Drops, Injures
Sep 132010

Six rescued seafarers. Photo: MCGA

At 1145 on September 13, the crew of the BP-operated tanker, British Cormorant was carrying out a drill with the rescue boat when one of the lines snapped injuring three crewmen on the ship and causing the rescue boat to capsize which deposited the six crewmen into the water.

The Coastguard rescue helicopter from Lee on Solent was scrambled and recovered six crewmen from the water and landed them at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight.  The helicopter then recovered a crewman to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth with suspected spinal injuries from the ship.

Continue reading »

MAIB Chief Admits – “I was naïve”

 MAIB, Maritime Investigation, maritime safety  Comments Off on MAIB Chief Admits – “I was naïve”
Jul 292010

Rear Admiral Stephen Meyer, who retires as Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents for the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch in August, gives a hint of the enormous pressures facing today’s maritime investigators and the emerging threats to the branch’s independence that will be faced by his successor, Stephen Clinch.

In a farewell message, after eight years at the helm, in the MAIB’s 2009 annual report he writes: “When I joined, I was naïve enough to think that everyone would be on the side of independent investigation, the sole purpose of which was future safety. In fact, few are on our side, as everyone involved in an accident has some form of vested interest, and others often have a particular axe to grind. I have also had to fight to maintain the independence and integrity of the MAIB, and our right to operate free from the growing culture of blame and litigation.

“That we have continued to operate so successfully in the face of such challenges has reinforced our credibility and is, I believe, an important outcome for safety at sea. I have an amazing team in the MAIB who, despite the gruelling nature of constantly working with death and tragedy, have remained positive and enthused.”

Some 1663 marine accidents and incidents were reported to the MAIB in 2009 and covered by its small team of 39 people.and a tiny budget of £4m. Many non-commercial casualties are still going unreported. Says Meyer: ” It is quite evident from the accidents we investigate that safety standards, supervision, training, inspection and enforcement are routinely well below that expected ashore. Although improvements are taking place, these are normally driven by accident investigations conducted by the MAIB and similar organisations in other countries”.

MAIB’s commitment to maritime safety is, unfortunately not shared by all administrations. Cyprus and Belgium have not responded to safety recommendations and a European windlass manufacturer had declined to improve the safety of equipment (Not identified in the MAIB annual report, TTS Kocks Gmbh, ed)