Person overboard from trawler Apollo with loss of 1 life

Location: North Sea.

Completed PE Summary: Apollo

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Vessel name   Apollo
Registered Owner & Manager:   Kinlochbervie Fish Selling Company
Type:   Trawler
Built:   2001
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   23.9m
Gross tonnage:   246.00
Date & Time   09 March 2007; 1630
Location of incident:   International waters 5835.6N, 0011.6E
Incident Type:   Man overboard
Persons onboard:   7 crew
Injuries/ fatalities:   One fatality
Damage/ Pollution:   None

Synopsis

A stern trawler crewman died after being dragged overboard by a trawl net during routine hauling operations. The operator of the net drum was unable to clearly see the vessel’s stern whilst hauling as his view was impaired due to the physical size of the equipment. He was therefore unaware of the close proximity of the crewman to the net when it was briefly veered back into the sea.

The nets were quickly recovered, enabling the vessel to be manoeuvred alongside the casualty, who was then able to grab and hold a life ring and be pulled alongside. Sadly, he then began to lose consciousness and, despite the unstinting efforts of the crew, was not able to be revived when he was recovered to the deck.

The casualty, who was not wearing a flotation aid, was in the water for approximately 15 minutes before final recovery to the deck.

Action taken

As a result of the accident the vessel’s owners have:

  • Carried out a review of their working practices and risk assessment;

  • Installed additional net drum controls to enable local operation, with a clear view of the vessel’s stern;

  • Made compulsory the wearing of inflatable lifejackets for all crew working on the open deck;

  • Fitted additional life rings high up on the vessel to allow better deployment.

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has:

  • Written to the Chief Executive of the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) suggesting that he consider extending an initiative for MCA’s surveyors to assist fishermen in their assessment of the risks encountered during fishing operations.

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