Lack of safety on the boat resulted in the death of an Indonesian fisherman off the northeast coast
A new report has identified several security breaches aboard a boat where a fisherman suffered fatal head injuries off the Aberdeen coast.
The Directorate of Maritime Accident Investigation (MAIB) found that a member of the crew of the Olivia Jean was struck by moving fishing equipment, resulting in fatal crush injuries.
The body criticized shipowners TN Enterprises for not having put in place enough measures to prevent such a tragedy.
A fisherman died more than a week later
The incident occurred on the night of June 28, 2019, when the scallop dredge was approximately 39 miles northeast of Aberdeen.
At around 10 p.m., an Indonesian engineer was working on the bridge when he was hit in the head by a scallop dredge tow bar.
The 36-year-old suffered a crush injury to the head and was airlifted from the ship to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for emergency treatment.
He died 12 days later after being transferred to Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.
Probe discovers faults
MAIB worked alongside the Scottish Police, the Marine Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to investigate the circumstances of what has been described as an ‘unexpected death’.
The MAIB report identified several key safety issues, including the fact that operations on the bridge were not properly supervised or controlled.
Communication between crew members is said to be hampered by “a lack of common language and the low level of spoken English”.
He added: “The controls listed in the vessel’s risk assessment to mitigate the severity were not being followed at the time of the accident.
“The ship’s safety management system was incomplete and was not properly used or maintained on board Olivia Jean.”
Need for far-reaching changes
A “weak” safety culture within the fishing vessel fleet owned by Olivia Jean executives, TN Enterprises, was also cited.
Recommendations were made to TN Enterprises, aimed at improving the management of safety on board its fleet.
These include “the use and full implementation of a fisheries safety management system, as recommended by the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency”.
The company has a troubled past
The incident is not the first to attract the opprobrium of security agencies.
The only director of Annan-based TN Enterprises is fishing entrepreneur Tom Nicholson.
Mr Nicholson, 58, and his son Christopher, 40, are the two directors of the TN Enterprises subsidiary TN Trawlers, which six years ago was at the center of a case described as one worst security breaches in years.
The company and directors had been accused of putting financial gain before the lives of their crews after being ordered to pay nearly £ 150,000 in costs for a series of serious security breaches.
The offenses concerned three company-owned vessels, including the Olivia Jean, the Philomena and the Georgelou N, and covered a period between November 2009 and June 2011.
Southampton Crown Court has heard that MCA investigators have found unauthorized modifications to the Olivia Jean.
These included the addition of a crane on an elevated platform, holes in the forward bulkhead to accommodate larger conveyor belts, and the addition of a generator set above a hatch in the front. ‘access to the forecastle’s space.
The scallop dredge was only allowed to use 14 dredges, but records indicated that 18 were in use.
Examination of the same files also showed that the Olivia Jean was carrying more cargo on deck than her stability rules allowed.
The vessel was also operated under an exemption allowing the removal of the lifeboat if a crew of six or less were on board.
But eight crew members were on board the ship.
After the hearing, Captain Jeremy Smart, MCA’s law enforcement official, condemned the company’s safety record, accusing the company of “blatant disregard for safety standards, the one of the worst that the MCA has seen in recent years ”.