National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy is set to host a virtual roundtable next month on improving fishing vessel safety.
The commercial fishing industry remains largely uninspected and is a marine sector of concern. Approximately 58,000 U.S. commercial fishing vessels are in service today in the U.S. Fishing consistently tops the list of most deadly occupations, due, in large part, to challenging work environments, such as poor weather and rough waters.
There have been more than 800 fatalities, 164 missing people, and 2,122 people injured in commercial fishing vessel accidents in the past two decades.
One of the more tragic accidents occurred in December 2019, when the FV Scandies Rose sank with the loss of five of the seven people on board. The NTSB identified the following sa?fety issues during its investigation: the effect of extreme icing conditions, lack of accurate weather data for the accident area, the vessel’s inaccurate stability instructions and the need to update regulatory guidelines on calculating and communicating icing for vessel stability instructions. As a result of this accident, the NTSB issued seven new recommendations and reiterated two safety recommendations previously issued to the U.S. Coast Guard.
In another accident, in February 2017, the fishing vessel Destination sank in the Bering Sea with the loss of all six crew members. Following that accident, the NTSB issued a safety alert (SA 18-074) on icing.
The roundtable will feature government officials, industry leaders, fishing vessel operators, safety experts and survivors of fishing vessel accidents to discuss what can be done to address commercial fishing safety concerns, implement NTSB safety recommendations and improve the safety of fishing operations in the U.S.
The issue of improving fishing vessel safety is on the NTSB’s 2021-2022 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.
“We need new standards to address—and periodically reassess—intact stability, subdivision, and watertight integrity in commercial fishing vessels up to 79 feet long. Many fishing crews aren’t trained in stability management techniques or emergency response, and we have found that many vessels do not have proper life-saving equipment, such as flotation devices and search-and-rescue locator devices,” the NTSB said in releasing its Most Wanted List.
Chair Homendy explains the importance of improving fishing vessel safety and working together to save lives in the video below:
The roundtable is set to take place October 14, 2021. More details can be found here.
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