Safety warning about working in enclosed spaces after the loss of 1 life on a fishing vessel

Urgent bulletin issued after working in a refrigerated salt water tank resulted in a fatal accident on board fv Sunbeam (FR487) at Fraserburgh, Scotland.

Safety Bulletin 4/2018

MAIB safety bulletin 4-2018: Sunbeam

A full report will be published when the investigation is complete.

Safety issues

  • working in enclosed spaces is potentially hazardous, procedures for entering and working in them should be robust, understood and utilised
  • enclosed space rescue plans need to be in place on all vessels, risks must be understood and rescue plans practised
  • all crew members have a responsibility for their own safety, this is particularly important in respect of lone working


Sunbeam’s owners are recommended (S2018/129) to conduct risk assessments specifically for entering and working in RSW tanks and provide safe operating procedures for its crew to follow and appropriate levels of safety equipment to use.

Photograph of the aft refrigerated salt water tank on board fv Sunbeam
Published 19 October 2018