Louisa report published
The MAIB has released its report and findings following the investigation into a crabber that sank while at anchor in Mingulay Bay. Three of the crew were lost and one was able to make it to shore and was rescued.
The MAIB report detailed a list of errors and failures, including the hold bilge alarm having been disabled, the failure of the liferaft to inflate, shortfalls in the vesselâ€™s safety equipment and procedures, while also highlighting the failures with lifejackets and also weaknesses in knowledge and procedures that resulted in a delay to the search and rescue operation.
Louisaâ€™s crew had activated the EPIRB and the initial alert was received at 0239, but the first request for search and rescue was not made until 0322. The MAIB report states that had the rescue effort been quicker, it is possible that there would have been more survivors.
The wreck of Louisa was recovered as part of the MAIB operation to determine what led to the crabberâ€™s loss.
â€˜The scope of this safety investigation has been necessarily broad,â€™ commented Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents Steve Clinch.
â€˜In the absence of any identified material defect, we have concluded that the vessel probably foundered as a result of its deck wash hose flooding the hold while the skipper and crew were all asleep. A previously disconnected bilge alarm sounder prevented them from being alerted to the flooding until just before the vessel foundered. These factors highlight operational deviations from best practice and an underestimation of the risks involved.â€™
He said that the failure of Louisaâ€™s liferaft to inflate and a delay in the arrival of search and rescue assets meant that, after abandoning the vessel, the skipper and crew depended on their lifejackets for survival.
â€˜A lifejacket should turn an unconscious person onto their back and keep their airway clear of the water. It is therefore of concern that the skipper and two crew were tragically found unresponsive and face down in their lifejackets when the rescue services arrived on scene. The results of lifejacket trials undertaken by the MAIB and of lifejacket testing commissioned by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) following the accident strengthen that concern. Therefore, as a matter of urgency, I am recommending the MCA to conduct further research to confirm or otherwise the suitability of historical and extant lifejacket water performance test protocols,â€™ he said.
The full MAIB report into the Louisaâ€™s loss can be found here.
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