MAIB issues report on crush incident on scallop dredger Olivia Jean

In late June 2019, a crew member onboard the scallop dredger Olivia Jean was fatally injured when he was struck on the head by a scallop dredge towing bar. He was working on deck at the time.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has issued its report on the incident in which, it says, several safety issues are highlighted. Firstly the report says that the deck operations were not being properly supervised or controlled, secondly communication between crew members was hampered by a lack of a common language and the poor level of spoken English, and thirdly the controls listed in the vessel’s risk assessment to mitigate the severity were not being followed at the time of the accident. Finally, says MAIB, the vessel’s safety management system was incomplete and was not being properly used or maintained on board Olivia Jean.

“Sadly, this was not the first serious accident to crew working on Olivia’s Jean’s deck that the MAIB has investigated,” says the chief inspector of marine accidents.

“The circumstances and many of the factors that contributed to this death are all too familiar. In particular, an ineffective safety management culture driven from the very top of the organisation, had resulted in hazardous practices taking place on board.

“The working deck of a fishing vessel can be an extremely hazardous place, where good levels of communication, supervision, and control are essential. The importance of the implementation of a robust safety management system by fishing vessel owners, managers and skippers cannot be underestimated.”

The Indonesian engineer on board the scallop dredger was fatally injured after being struck on the head by one of the vessel’s towing bars while the vessel was approximately 39 nautical miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland.

The engineer had replaced two worn dredges on the starboard towing bar and stood clear as the skipper used the winch and derrick to raise and realign the dredge gear. During the process, the engineer forgot to remove one of the towing bar’s securing chains, and the dredge gear became snagged. Although the skipper had shouted instructions to the engineer to remain clear as he attempted to free the gear, the engineer stepped between the gear and the vessel’s accommodation and wheelhouse superstructure as the snagged bar released and swung inboard.

The engineer suffered crush injuries to his head and was airlifted from the vessel and taken to hospital for emergency treatment. He died 12 days later.

MAIB says that the deck crew were working independently of each other and the skipper and engineer both became task focused after things started to go wrong; neither had a full understanding of the situation as it developed and that the safety culture across the fleet of fishing vessels managed by TN Enterprises Ltd was weak.

Recommendations have been made to Olivia Jean’s managers, TN Enterprises, aimed at improving the safety management on board its feet, through the utilisation and full implementation of a fishing safety management system.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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