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Safety Management Issues At Inis Oírr Pier Raised In MCIB Report

19th July 2017
One of the two passengers who entered the water holds onto the end of the gangway of the Rose of Aran before his rescue in the incident on 6 June 2016 One of the two passengers who entered the water holds onto the end of the gangway of the Rose of Aran before his rescue in the incident on 6 June 2016 Photo: MCIB

#MCIB - Lack of safety management contributed to an incident in which two people fell into the water while disembarking from a ferry at Inis Oírr Pier last summer.

That’s according to the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report on the event that involved the passenger ferry Rose of Aran on 6 June 2016.

Two passengers disembarking the ferry that morning, a man and a woman, were treated for shock after entering the water when the gangway slipped off the quayside.

It emerged that the stern line holding the Rose of Aran at its berth, fastened by a bystander and not checked by crew at the bow lines, had come loose at some point after passengers began disembarking.

The stern line is not immediately visible from the boat’s wheelhouse — a situation made worse by crowds on the pier at the time blocking the already obscured view.

Upon noticing that the boat was drifting, the master attempted to move it back into position, but it was pushed away by wash from the engines of the boat moored astern, causing the gangway to slip.

In its analysis, the MCIB determined that the Liscannor Ferry Company, which operates the Rose of Arran, operated with a safety management system, or SMS, that “lacked specific risk assessments and standard operating procedures for berthing at the various piers and harbours used” by its vessels.

The SMS also lacked a ‘Man Overboard’ situation among its emergency drills. As a result, the crew “were not trained or prepared for recovery procedures within the confines of the harbour.

“The recovery of the casualties would not have occurred without people on the shore entering the water and assisting them to shore,” it added.

But the MCIB also took Galway County Council to task for the lack of bye-laws, or a harbour master, to govern operations at Inis Oírr Pier, which allows vessels to berth with engines running and regularly experiences overcrowding that “hinders the safe berthing of ferries”.

The full MCIB report can be downloaded below.

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