MAIB report published into the death of one person overboard from stern trawler Copious

At about 0300 on 18 February 2021, a deckhand fell overboard from the twin rig stern trawler Copious (LK 985) approximately 30 nautical miles south-east of the Shetland Islands. The deckhand was conscious, wearing a lifejacket and was quickly brought alongside the vessel. However, the crew’s attempts to recover the casualty back on board were unsuccessful. He was unresponsive when recovered from the water by a coastguard helicopter and pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Safety Issues
– The deckhand fell overboard while attempting a repair to the trawl gear. There was no attempt to stop and consider the repair and the activity was not effectively risk assessed or mitigated.
– When he lost consciousness in the water, the incorrectly worn lifejacket did not hold his airways clear and he drowned due to complications of immersion.
– The available man overboard recovery equipment was not supplemented by the training and equipment necessary for the recovery of an unconscious person.

A recommendation (2023/102) has been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to amend regulations to require fishing vessels to have an efficient means to recover an unconscious person from the water that is demonstrable during surveys and inspections.

Download the report: click here

MAIB has also issued a safety flyer following this accident. The document summarises the circumstances and contains four key points reminding fishers of safety steps that could help save lives. This is especially important if recovering an unconscious person from the water.

Download the safety flyer: click here

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