A MARINE investigation in Scotland has issued a stark warning about safety measures on fishing boats, following the alarmingly quick sinking of an Irish trawler last year.
All five crew members from the Galway-registered fishing boat Iúda Naofa were successfully rescued by HM Coastguard off the coast of the Butt of Lewis, northern Scotland in January 2015.
The vessel sank in just 40 seconds after the crew gathered on the aft deck of the boat.
Despite the new safety warnings issued the report failed to shed light on what caused the vessel to go down so quickly.
The MFV Iúda Naofa set off for the northern Scottish coast in January of last year on a mackerel fishing trip.
Its sister ship, the MFV Star of Hope, joined the vessel on its expedition.
The crew had finished their catch and were preparing to return to Ireland January 20, 2015 when the an alarm sounded on the Iúda Naofa – alerting captain Mairtín Ó Conghaíle that there was flooding on board.
From the time the crew gathered on the boat’s aft deck, it took just 40 seconds to submerge completely in the choppy sea.
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The swift actions of the captain in alerting the coastguard meant that all five crew members were quickly rescued by a British MCA helicopter from Stornoway.
The report revealed how the crew initially attempted to start up an onboard portable pump in an effort to pump some of the water out of the boat – but it failed to start.
When these attempts failed, realising the vessel was in “imminent danger”, the captain ordered the crew to put on life jackets and submersion suits.
Iúda Naofa was kitted out with two life boats – one had become trapped under the vessel as it sank, while the second surfaced.
As the boat sank, the crew could do little but gather on the aft deck as the coastguard helicopter rescued them.
The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report into the capsizing stated that onboard pumps should have clear instructions for use and a marine safety notice should be issued informing the industry of this.
It went on to state that helicopter hi-line protocols should be included in safety training – as only one member of the crew had adequate training in working them.
Neither Mr Ó Conghaíle or his crew noted any impact to the vessel – which was travelling at just four or five knots.
The report failed to shed any light on the cause of the onboard flooding that led to the rapid sinking.