Fatal accident on board fishing vessel Artemis (FR 809), Kilkeel, Northern Ireland. 29 April 2019.
Artemis was in port and its skipper and deckhand were not undertaking any work activities when
the accident happened. Nevertheless, access to and from fishing vessels in port, and movement
around their decks can be very hazardous. While limited alcohol consumption by crew living
on board fishing vessels when in port and of duty might be considered acceptable, excessive
consumption will severely undermine an individual’s judgment and coordination. A fishing vessel
owner’s drug and alcohol policy that provides a clear definition of when crew are on or of duty, and
ensures that they are aware of the circumstances under which they may be required to undergo
drug and alcohol testing, can help prevent future accidents.
Post-build modifications 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.
It placed those working in the wheelhouse at significant risk of falling through an unguarded
opening Fishing vessel risk assessments understandably concentrate on the dangerous
activities that surround the operation of the vessel’s fishing equipment, however, the risks posed by internal hatches, ladders and stairways should not be overlooked. In this case, although the vessel had been surveyed many times since the modifications were made to the wheelhouse hatch and ladder, it was clear that the hatch required a physical barrier to prevent personnel inadvertently falling through the opening.