At about 1630 on 29 April 2019, the skipper of the UK registered fishing vessel Artemis fell through the internal wheelhouse hatch on to the deck below. As a result of the fall, he suffered a fatal head injury. The vessel was berthed alongside in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland and the skipper had just returned from an afternoon ashore with one of the deckhands. They had both spent 3 hours in a local public house drinking alcohol.
the skipper was significantly under the influence of alcohol when he slipped, tripped or fell through the wheelhouse hatch
post-build modifications to the design of the wheelhouse hatch had increased the likelihood of someone falling through the opening and suffering serious injury
MAIB accident statistics indicate that, since, 1992, alcohol was a contributing factor in 62% of the 42 fishing fatalities that have occurred while in port
The vessel’s owners have been recommended (2020/101) to review the design of the means of access between the wheelhouse and the mess deck; update their drug and alcohol policy; and, ensure that all crew are issued with fishermen’s work agreements. A further recommendation (2020/102) has been made to the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) and Rockall Ltd to amend the generic drug and alcohol policies contained in their online safety management folders.
A safety flyer to the fishing industry highlighting a number of the safety lessons was produced for this report.