The incident

On the 10th April, 2018 at approximately 07.00 hrs, the ‘FV Aisling Patrick’ departed from Ballyglass, Co. Mayo with three persons on board to fish for mackerel between Erris Head and Eagle Island.

Around 12.30 hrs the vessel began listing to starboard. The Skipper entered the wheelhouse and the speed was reduced to ascertain the cause of the list.

A wave struck the vessel on the port quarter which pushed the starboard bulwark under water and flooded the deck.

Almost immediately a second wave struck the port side again and capsized the vessel.

The Skipper had commenced a mayday message after the first wave struck, but he had not completed it when the second wave struck and capsized the vessel. He swam out from underneath the capsized vessel.

The other two crew members were thrown into the water. The liferaft surfaced from under the vessel and one crew member inflated it and climbed aboard. He threw a large fender towards the Skipper.

The third crew member was in the water face down and did not make any attempt to swim or stay afloat.

One crew member was in the liferaft, the other two were in the water drifting away.

Malin Head Radio received a partial distress call at 12.35 hrs. Rescue helicopter R118, an Air Corps CASA aircraft, Ballyglass lifeboat and Killala Coast Guard were tasked to commence a search.

The liferaft was located by R118 at 13.19 hrs and two crew members were lifted on board from the water and one from the liferaft.

They were taken to Sligo Hospital where the Casualty was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The two other crew members were treated for hypothermia.

Some items of wreckage were recovered on the following day. On 2 May 2018 the upturned hull of the vessel came ashore on the Isle of South Uist, Scotland.

 

Probable causes

The investigation was unable to determine conclusively the cause of the capsize but it would appear that the vessel’s stability was reduced due to the ingress of water and as a consequence capsized in the prevailing sea conditions.

 

Conclusions

-There were at least two possible sources of water ingress identified on the starboard side of the vessel. One source identified was the multiple pipe connections between the oil cooler and deck water pump. Another source of water ingress was through a crack in the deck leading to the aft starboard compartment.

-The bilge alarm systems did not give an early warning of water ingress into either compartment. This indicates that the vessel had not been maintained to the requirements of the CoP as required in the CoP Section.

-The requirements set out in Sections 2.17, 2.18 and 4.3.2 and Annex 7 of the CoP could benefit from elaboration to assist owners in ensuring the installation and maintenance of effective bilge pump arrangements.

-The most probable reason the EPIRB did not deploy is that its hydrostatic release did not immerse to four metres.

-The distress message would have been complete had it been sent digitally by activating the DSC button on the VHF.

-The absence of any formal operational training for the crew of this vessel resulted in poor operational procedures and incorrect actions during an emergency situation.

-Of the top ten factors in the Marine Safety Strategy contributing to loss of life at sea in Ireland identified by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport the following three are present in this incident:

  • The need for an enhanced maritime safety culture.
  • Lack of crew training.
  • Non-wearing of PFD (lifejacket/buoyancy aid).

-The upturned vessel remained a risk to navigation for 24 days without any action by the owners to track or recover it.

-The vessel was carrying three crew members but the DoC indicated two crew members.

-The Casualty had not undergone the required refresher training as set out in the CoP Section.

-None of the crew members were wearing the PFDs as required by S.I. No.586 of 2001.

-None of the crew members were wearing the required PLB while on deck.

 

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