Fishing to be made safer after Nancy Glen tragedy

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Some good may come from the bleak events of January 2018, when Tarbert fishing boat Nancy Glen sank with the loss of two men.

A report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has recommended changes to legislation relating to the stability of fishing vessels to improve safety at sea.

The Nancy Glen capsized and sank in Loch Fyne on the evening of January 18, 2018, with the loss of 46-year-old skipper Duncan MacDougall and crewman Przemek Krawczyk, aged 38.

A third crew member survived after being pulled from the water by a passing workboat.

The MAIB report concluded that the boat capsized when one of her nets became filled with mud as the skipper turned to starboard ready for hauling the nets before returning home for the night. During the manoeuvre the vessel quickly heeled over and began to rapidly capsize.

Evidence gathered during the MAIB inquiry indicated that the replacement of a deck crane with one more than double the weight during the 2017 Christmas layover, in combination with other modifications since 2002, could be ‘directly attributed’ to reducing the Nancy Glen’s stability.

Noting that the owners had previously taken professional advice in carrying out modifications, the report said that it was believed the replacement crane was similar to the old version, so stability checks were not carried out.

The MAIB has recommended to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency the introduction of stability checks for fishing vessels under 15 metres.

Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, Captain Andrew Moll, said: ‘The capsize and sinking of Nancy Glen, which resulted in the tragic loss of two respected Tarbert fishermen, has again demonstrated the consequences of not knowing how stable a boat is.

‘Too many of the UK’s small fishing vessels have no baseline measure of their stability, so their operators cannot assess the effect of material modifications or changes to fishing methods.’

The Clyde Fishermen’s Association said: ‘We will forever regret the tragic incident of the Nancy Glen’s loss which occurred on January 18, 2018.

‘The MAIB report has suggested a number of changes to fishing boats under 15 metres in moving forward which may help to improve safety. We will continue to be supportive of all efforts to improve the safety of all who go to sea.’

Earlier this week the Crown Office confirmed that a criminal investigation into the incident had been dropped, though a mandatory Fatal Accident Inquiry is to be held into the tragedy of the Nancy Glen.