Random spot checks by MCA reveal a high number of fishing boat deficiencies

Vessel image used for illustration purposes only
Vessel image used for illustration purposes only

More than a fifth of fishing vessels subject to a random spot inspection have either been detained or prohibited from being used for fishing by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The targeted campaign saw surveyors from the MCA visiting ports in Scotland and the South West of England, inspecting 212 vessels at random.

All sizes of vessel were inspected during the unannounced inspections held across seven days in June. A total of 1,249 deficiencies or non-compliant items were found across all those inspected with just 14 being fully compliant with the regulations.

The worst areas for non-compliance were life-saving appliances, firefighting equipment, ILO188 and vessel and crew documentation.

As a result, just over 20% [44] of the vessels inspected faced enforcement action, with some being detained until the non-compliances were put right and others facing prohibition notices which would stop them being used for fishing.

Brian Johnson, Chief Executive with the MCA, said there was good and bad news revealed by the campaign.

He said: “The good news is that nearly 80 per cent of those inspected were found to be in general compliance. The bad news is that over 20 per cent were not.

“This is about the safety of those who work in the fishing industry. This year alone we’ve seen seven people die and we must continue to do all we can to keep people safe at sea. That has to include preventing vessels from continuing to operate if it is clear they are not compliant with the standards of safety set out in the regulations.

“While we continue to work with the industry, we will also continue to take enforcement action against vessels, their owners and skippers where serious non-compliance is identified. That safety is non-negotiable.”

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