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Commercial Fishing



Fatal Accident on board fishing vessel Artemis. Report on the investigation of fatal accident on board fishing vessel Artemis, Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, 29 April 2019.

At about 1630 on 29 April 2019, the skipper of the UK registered fishing vessel Artemis fell through the internal wheelhouse hatch on to the deck below. As a result of the fall, he suffered a fatal head injury.  The vessel was berthed alongside in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, and the skipper had just returned from an afternoon ashore with one of the deckhands. They had both spent 3 hours in a local public house drinking alcohol.

 The key safety issues identified were:

  • The skipper was significantly under the influence of alcohol when he slipped, tripped or fell through the wheelhouse hatch.
  • Post-build modifications to the design of the wheelhouse hatch had increased the likelihood of someone falling through the opening and suffering serious injury.
  • MAIB accident statistics indicate that, since, 1992, alcohol was a contributing factor in 62% of the 42 fishing fatalities that have occurred while in port.

 Safety recommendations:

Recommendations have been made to:

  • The vessel’s owners to review the design of hatch and ladder between the wheelhouse and the mess deck; update their drug and alcohol policy; and, ensure that all crew are issued with fishermen’s work agreements.
  • Fishing industry bodies to amend the generic drug and alcohol policies contained in their online safety management folders.