In response to Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) recommendations, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) has issued a Marine Notice to remind masters, owners, users, charterers, skippers and crew of fishing vessels of previous safety advice and requirements.
In addition, the notice informs the sector of several recommendations in relation to smaller vessels that are under consideration for inclusion in the next revision of the Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Equipment and Operation of Small Fishing of less than 15m in Length overall.
In recent years the MCIB has made several recommendations some of which were incorporated in the most recent revision of the Code of Practice, most notably in relation to a requirement for all such fishing vessels to carry an automatic, float-free Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and for all fishers to carry Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs).
Some recommendations required further consideration and additional recommendations have since been made including:
- Improvement of stability standards (including freeboard and freeing ports in small decked vessels);
- Consideration of stating a minimum height of rails/bulwarks;
- A mandatory requirement for fishing vessels to be fitted with smoke/fire detection systems in engine rooms and for fuel and hydraulic oil pipes to be constructed out of fire resistant material;
- A requirement to carry safety harnesses for each person on board; and
- Making mandatory the holding of emergency drills for vessels less than 12 metres.
Owners are reminded that the nature and extent of any major repairs or major structural modifications to their vessel must comply with the Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Equipment and Operation of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length overall (Section 126.96.36.199)