Overboard recovery system recommended for fishing vessels

Monday 19 November 2012 16.44
The crew of the Amy Jane were rescued by a helicopter off the Co Donegal coast
The crew of the Amy Jane were rescued by a helicopter off the Co Donegal coast

A Marine Casualty Investigation Board report has recommended that the Transport Minister issue a notice recommending the installation of "an overboard" recovery system on Irish fishing vessels.

The recommendation is made in a report into the circumstances surrounding the loss of a crewman from the fishing trawler, the Mark Amay II in May of last year, 52 nautical miles off Achill Island.

Cathal McDaid was dragged overboard from the rear of the vessel when he stumbled and became entangled in the nets as they were leaving the trawler.

The report suggests that Mr McDaid was knocked unconscious quickly in the water when he was hit by the hull of the trawler.

It also details the efforts made by fellow crew members to try and rescue Mr McDaid.

Jao da Silva jumped overboard with a rope attached to him and swam out to Mr McDaid.

He managed to bring his unresponsive colleague back to the trawler.

There were difficulties getting Mr McDaid out of the water and despite efforts to try and revive him, Mr McDaid was pronounced dead when he was airlifted to Sligo General Hospital.

The report found that he had been wearing a lifejacket but it did not have a collar, which would have ensured his face remained out of the water.

The hard hat he had been wearing was not secured with a chin strap. Had it been, it could have prevented him from being knocked out by the trawler's hull.

The report recommended that a recovery system be made available on the trawler and the crew trained in its uses.

It also recommended that the minister responsible should consider issuing a marine notice to all Irish-registered fishing vessels that they should have such systems installed.

Report into Amy Jane sinking

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has also published a report into the loss of a fishing boat off the Donegal coast last year.

The Amy Jane had six crew on board when it left Greencastle harbour on 7 October 2011.

They were on their way out to haul pots for crabs when the vessel started taking on water.

An hour after the alarm was raised, the crew abandoned ship and were rescued later by helicopter. No one was injured.

Among the safety recommendations made, are the installation of bilge alarms below the waterline in some vessels.