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The skipper of fishing vessel Artemis (FR 809) sufered severe head injuries and died after he fell head-first through an access hatch. The vessel was berthed alongside in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland and he had just returned from an afternoon ashore with one of his deckhands. Both had spent 3 hours in a local public house drinking alcohol.

It was not possible to determine whether he slipped, tripped or stumbled before he fell as there was no witness. MAIB accident statistics indicate that, since 1992, alcohol was a contributing factor in 62% of the 42 fishing vessel fatalities that have occurred while in port.

Safety lessons 

  • Artemis was in port and its skipper and deckhand were not undertaking any work activities when the accident happened. Excessive alcohol consumption will severely undermine an individual’s judgment and coordination. 
  • Post-build modifcations to the access route between the vessel’s wheelhouse and the mess deck increased the likelihood and consequences of someone falling through the mess deck hatch’s unguarded opening. The hatch required a physical barrier to prevent personnel inadvertently falling through the opening.

Full Marine Accident Investigation report on www.gov.uk/maib

Photo from the full report

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