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Displaying items by tag: John O'Brien

A new bill before the Dáil seeks to amend the “bizarre circumstances” that mean there is no legal obligation for members of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) to have relevant marine accident experience.

As TheJournal.ie reports, the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) Amendment Bill 2019 tabled by Mattie McGrath TD has been welcomed by relatives of two men who drowned off Helvick Head in May 2010.

The families of John O’Brien and Patrick Esmonde have taken issue with the standard of the MCIB investigation into their deaths.

The MCIB report published in February 2012, which called for better safety awareness among leisure boat users, did not conclude exactly how the pair came to enter the water. An inquest into the tragedy more than 18 months later returned an open verdict.

McGrath, who says he has “worked closely with John O’Brien’s sister Anne-Marie” on the proposed legislation, claims that the lack of a legal mandate for MCIB investigators to have relevant accident experience “has always been a major issue for the two families, who have never accepted the official outcome of the investigation into the deaths on the summer’s day”.

TheJournal.ie has much more on the story HERE.

Published in MCIB

#MCIB - The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has called for better safety awareness among leisure boat users in its report into the deaths of two men off Helvick Head in Co Waterford in May 2010.

John O'Brien and Pat Esmonde were lost overboard from their small RIB on 23 May 2010, and their remains were recovered two days later. Post-mortems confirmed that both died by drowning.

The report does not conclude exactly how the incident occurred. But accounts from eyewitnesses who sighted the men in the minutes before state that neither was wearing a lifejacket, despite the legal requirement to do so - and despite O'Brien having no seafaring experience and Esmonde being unable to swim, as confirmed by their families.

The MCIB also noted that while there were two lifejackets aboard the vessel, they were for emergencies and not suitable for constant wear as per the requirements for the vessel class.

Other safety issues highlighted include the kill-cord on the engine, which was not being used, and the fact that the initial distress call was made by mobile phone and not VHF radio.

Though neither had any bearing on this specific incident, the MCIB warned in particular that mobile phone calls are closed in nature, whereas VHF distress calls can be heard and answered by any vessel in the vicinity.

The board recommends that the Minister for Transport "undertakes a highly visible information poster campaign on piers and launching areas relating to lifejackets, VHF radio and emergency contact details" and also reminds boaters of their legal obligations.

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

Published in MCIB

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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