Inquiry urges crews to wear life jackets
THE MARINE Casualty Investigation Board has urged that people wear life jackets at all times while on a vessel, and says existing safety recommendations for small vessels should be revised by the Department of Transport.
The board was commenting on its inquiry into the loss of a crew member in the Waterford estuary early last year when a mussel-dredging vessel capsized and sank.
John Ennis was drowned while skipper Richard McNamara survived the sinking of Na Buachaillí about half a nautical mile north of Duncannon, Co Waterford, on February 18th, 2011.
The report found that the 9.3m wooden fishing vessel had the “requisite safety equipment on board” at the time of the incident but that neither of the two men on board was wearing a life jacket.
The vessel had listed to starboard while the two men tried to hoist a mussel dredge, after Mr McNamara had noticed that a merchant ship and the Waterford pilot boat were coming downriver.
Mr Ennis was swept overboard and as Mr McNamara tried to activate the emergency positionindicating radio beacon, he was sucked into an area forward of the engine. The report said a “quirk of fate” reversed the flow of water and Mr McNamara was ejected, whereupon he got one of the vessel’s life-rings and reached shore to raise the alarm.