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Displaying items by tag: stability

#MCIB - Overloading of the boat deck and a missing hatch at the stern may have caused a fatal loss of buoyancy that led to the drowning of two fishermen off Co Clare last year, according to the official report into the incident.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the remains of the two fishermen were found by local divers at the wheelhouse of their sunken boat near Spanish Point on 14 August 2012 during a search operation for the fishing vessel Lady Eileen.

Their craft had been reported missing the previous day after they failed to return from a trip to mend snagged nets, and a massive search operation was mounted after debris and diesel were discovered in the water close to Spanish Point that evening.

The two men lost were later named as owner/skipper Michael Galvin and crew Noel Dickinson, both of Quilty in Co Clare.

In its official report into the incident, the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that the vessel had a low freeboard, such that even in an unladen condition it would not have to heel by a significant degree to take water on the deck.

With the weight of nets and the seawater tank used to store crustaceans, the vessel's freeboard was reduced such that water would be allowed to "flow freely on to the deck even in very calm weather conditions". This is water that would not be quickly released, with potentially very serious effects on the craft's buoyancy.

In addition, a panel removed by Galvin some weeks before to do repair work on the sterngear appeared not to have been replaced, possibly allowing a catastrophic amount of water on deck if the boat encountered wind or wave action.

With no witnesses to the incident it is unknown exactly what happened to cause the boat to be swamped, though it is thought to have transpired very quickly as neither man was wearing a lifejacket and the boat's manually operated emergency beacon in the wheelhouse was not activated.

Among the MCIB's recommendations is that the Minister for Transport reviews the Code of Practice for fishing vessels under 15m to devise new stability criteria.

Volunteers participating in search operations have also been urged to co-ordinate their assistance, after an open boat with three on board was capsized by waves while searching for the Lady Eileen and its crew.

All were thrown overboard though were quickly rescued by Garda divers in the area.

The full report from the MCIB is available to download below.

Published in MCIB

#MCIB - The families of two fishermen found dead at sea off the Skerries last April may never uncover the circumstances that led to their demise. But the official report into the incident indicated that the absence of lifejackets was a significant contributing factor.

Ronan Browne (26) and David Gilsenan (41) were reported missing on the evening of 1 April after failing to return from a trip tending to lobster pots.

Their vessel, Lady Linda, was found the following morning upturned in an oil slick off Clogherhead with no sign of the crew.

It wasn't until a week later that their bodies were discovered caught in the vessel's fishing gear some five miles east of Clogherhead, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Post-mortem results found that both men died from drowning, with Gilsenan also showing signs of hypothermia.

With no eyewitnesses to the incident, the report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) indicated a number of possible causes from eqiupment malfunction or shifting of lobster pots on deck, to the wave height and weather conditions on the day, which were reportedly deteriorating when the boat left port.

It also said that Browne and Gilsenan "were lifelong friends, both men were experienced and qualified marine engineers in the fishing vessel industry. Both men were experienced in boat handling and fishing and had worked together on many occasions."

But the report emphasised the lack of personal flotation devices (PFDs) on board, and noted that emergency equipment was stored under the deck and not easily accessible.

The MCIB's recommendations include a review of the code of practice for fishing vessels under 15m to establish "revised stability critera" and ensuring that all boats are fitted with automatic radio beacons that deploy upon capsize.

In a separate incident, lack of proper maintenance led to an unlicenced boat taking on water off Co Kerry last August.

The Claire Buoyant was carrying one crew, five passengers and 21 sheep from Beginish Island to Ventry when the vessel began to lose stability.

Skipper Eoin Firtear - who the MCIB described as having "limited sea-going experience" - and his five passengers were rescued by passenger ferry. All sheep were jettisoned overboard, with 18 eventually recovered.

The report reminded that the carriage of livestock should only be undertaken in appropriately certified vessels.

Published in MCIB

#MCIB - The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has recommended a ministerial review of stability standards for fishing vessels following its report into the death of a crab fisherman off Co Cork in January last year.

Gerry Hegarty drowned after a wave struck the crab boat Carraig An Iasc, which was fully loaded with crab pots at the time, causing it to capsize and sending its two-man crew into the water.

Hegarty, who was not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) or other buoyancy aid, got into difficulty while attempting to swim ashore with his crewmate and skipper James Fitzgerald, who subsequently raised the alarm.

Lifeboats from Ballycotton and Crosshaven, as well as Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117, were tasked to the incident. Divers from Naval Service vessel LE Emer located the sunken crab boat but no body was found.

A coastguard search of the area continued over a number of days without success. Hegarty's body was eventually recovered on 17 February 2011 at Ringabella Strand in Co Cork.

The MCIB found it probable that the Carraig An Iasc encountered wind or wave action or a combination of both that caused the vessel to heel to an angle beyond which it was able to recover from its loaded condition. The vessel's Code of Practice Declaration of Compliance was valid until 15 July 2013.

The board noted that there have been "a number of incidents caused by overloading boats thus effecting stability", and recommended that the Minister for Transport reviews and revises the stability standards in the current Code of Practice to improve these standards.

It was also recommended that a safety notice be issued to all skippers and owners in the fishing fleet reminding them of their legal responsibility to ensure that all their crew wear PFDs or lifejackets while on deck.

The full report is available to download as a PDF from the MCIB website HERE.

Published in MCIB

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