Purse Seiner Death: Railing Not Installed

Source: AIBN
Source: AIBN

Published Nov 18, 2019 7:05 PM by The Maritime Executive

During purse seine fishing and hauling of the fishing gear north of Bjørnøya on July 12, 2017, a fisherman perished on board the fishing vessel Fugløyfjord after being wedged between the vessel's winch (triplex) and the wheelhouse bulkhead.

A railing behind the triplex would have impeded access to the danger area. The railing was a part of the initial construction drawings, but not delivered, says Norway's Accident Investigation Board. Its investigation report states that neither the designer, the shipyard, the shipping company nor the authorities revealed that there were missing railings and signage in the area between the pipe and the wheelhouse, during construction or at the completion of the vessel. If such a railing had been installed in accordance with the regulations, the accident could probably have been avoided. Subsequent regulatory checks after the vessel came into operation took place alongside a quay and did not capture the missing railing and associated danger area.

The crew found that lines were being spun during hauling whilst fishing and established a practice for work in the danger zone near the triplex where the skipper and the person overseeing the lines had visual and oral communication. Interference from one of the vessel's VHF radios caused the skipper to leave the maneuvering position, thus losing the visual control of the engineer. A possible misunderstanding in communication led to the skipper starting the hauling process without necessary visual control restored.

The company's safety management system prior to the accident was considered deficient in documented risk assessments, measures and work instructions. After the accident, the company established several physical barriers and improved safety routines.

The investigation indicated that the current regulations for the construction of vessels place few requirements on possible danger zones in the operation of fishing gear, and the authorities consider to a lesser extent operational safety at this stage.