Ireland’s MCIB issued an investigation report on a fatal incident at Killybegs Harbour Co. Donegal in March 2019. The investigation revealed a man fell in the water while transiting from one vessel to another, after consumption of alcohol and in poor weather that caused movement of vessels.
The ‘MFV Menhaden’, was moored outside the ‘MV Grip Transporter’ which in turn was moored outside a third vessel, the ‘MFV Olgarry’.
A CCTV footage captures images of the owner of ‘MFV Menhaden’ climbing the gangway from the quay onto the starboard side of the ‘MFV Olgarry’.
He can then be seen moving aft and transiting to the port side of the ‘MFV Olgarry’ before moving out of sight behind the wheelhouse.
He did not reappear on the CCTV footage forward of the wheelhouse or midships where the gangway to the ‘MV Grip Transporter’ was rigged.
At approximately 10.30 hrs the Harbour Master was alerted that the individual was missing.
After viewing the CCTV footage, the Harbour Master contacted the Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) at Malin Head who in turn tasked Killybegs Coast Guard at 12.51 hrs.
The Coast Guard boat was launched at 13.10 hrs and a shore search also commenced.
At 13.25 hrs, a body was sighted on the shore at the east side of the harbour.
At 13.40 hrs, the Coast Guard shore crew arrived on-scene and called Ballyshannon Gardaí to request their attendance with a doctor.
The evidence indicates the man entered the water while transiting from the ‘MFV Olgarry’ at approximately 01.00 hrs.
Weather conditions were poor at the time with a lot of movement between vessels.
There was a gangway rigged between the ‘MFV Olgarry’ and ‘MV Grip Transporter’ but there are no images on CCTV footage of this gangway used by the deceased.
- The man most likely fell into the water when transiting between the ‘MFV Olgarry’ and the ‘MV Grip Transporter’.
The requirement for gangways on fishing vessels of the sizes and year of construction included is set out in S.I. No. 325/1999-Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Fishing Vessels) Regulations, 1999 is as follows:
‘An accommodation ladder, gangway or other similar equipment providing an appropriate, safe means of boarding the vessel shall be provided.’
On this basis greater dexterity would have been required when boarding between the ‘MV Grip Transporter’ and ‘MFV Menhaden’.
The CCTV suggests that the Casualty did not use the gangway rigged between the ‘MV Grip Transporter’ and ‘MFV Menhaden’.
- Contributory factors included alcohol consumption, weather conditions and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Casualty had been socialising ashore between 16.00 hrs on the 13th March 2019 and 00.30 hrs on the 14th March 2019. The toxicology report indicates that the Casualty had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol prior to his death.
- The boarding arrangements between the ‘MV Grip Transporter’ and ‘MFV Menhaden’ did not have a gangway.
Following investigation, the MCIB recommends:
- the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to issue a Marine Notice reminding fishing vessel crews of the dangers associated with boarding and transiting across vessels and that gangways should be rigged.
- the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to issue a Marine Notice reminding fishing vessel crews of the dangers associated with boarding and transiting across vessels under the influence of alcohol.
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