The Fishing Vessels (Codes of Practice) Regulations 2017 provide for the MCA to apply Codes of Practice to Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length Overall, vessels of 15m Length Overall to less than 24m Registered Length and to vessels of 24m Registered Length and Over.
MCA proposes the replace the current Merchant Shipping Notice MSN1871, THe Cod of Practice for the Safety of Fishing Vessels of less than 15m LOA with a new Code of Practice for that size of vessel
The new Code will introduce new requirements for Construction, watertight and weather-tight integrity, Stability, Machinery, Electrical installations, Crew protection, Man overboard recovery
and In and out of water inspections. In particular vessels will be required to meet minimum standards in the above mentioned areas, as well as meet the requirements of the Construction Standards in force at the time of build.
The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels of less than 15m Length Overall
The following are highlights of the key proposed changes within the Code.
Currently, Small Fishing Vessels are only required to be surveyed at the time of construction or flag in, and thereafter only once every five years. There is no requirement for the vessel to be seen out of the water and therefore the hull condition may not be inspected.
It is proposed there will be a requirement that the vessel is seen out of the water once every five years at the renewal inspection prior to issue of its Small Fishing Vessel Certificate. An Out of the Water inspection is necessary to assess the construction, watertight and weathertight integrity. This may necessitate two visits to the vessel, to inspect the vessel in the water, if requirements, such as vessel stability or freeboard need to be checked.
A phase-in period is to be considered for existing vessels to comply with the requirements.
Construction, Watertight and Weathertight Integrity.
Currently new vessels must meet the Seafish Construction and Outfit Standards on construction, watertight and weathertight integrity. Once the vessel has been registered, there is no requirement for any vessel to continue to meet these standards.
The new Code will require that any vessel registering as a new fishing vessel (after the entry into force of the new Code) continues to meet those standards through the life of the vessel. Additionally, any vessel that carries out a modification, must make those changes in accordance with the Construction and Outfit Standards.
There are no current standards for vessels already registered as fishing vessels. Based on a review of the Workboat Code and the Irish Small Fishing Vessel Code, a number of requirements for existing vessels are proposed.
All new vessels under 12m will be required to comply with stability criteria relevant to their method of fishing whilst existing vessels under 15m must apply a stability assessment method to their vessel.
All vessels will carry a Wolfson Freeboard Notice.
Any vessel that changes its method of fishing after the introduction of the Code must comply with the stability criteria applicable to the proposed method of fishing
Machinery and Electrical Installations
The new measures set out in the Chapter on machinery are intended to address and reduce incidents by requiring new vessels are maintained to the Seafish Construction Standard and existing vessels meet a minimum standard.
New vessels will also be required to comply with a number of additional requirements in excess of the Seafish Construction Standards, which vary depending on whether the vessel is decked or open.
The measures proposed are intended to prevent fires starting on small fishing vessels from occurring
New vessels will be required to comply with a number of requirements in excess of the Seafish Construction Standards. The requirements placed on vessels will vary depending on their size and whether they are open or decked vessels.
Protection of Personnel
The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations 1997, require that owners and skippers must carry out risk assessments of work activities to minimise or reduce the risks of injury.
However, it is the case that these accidents still occur and through measures to regulate activities to reduce the risks, persons on board fishing vessels will be working in a safer environment.
The proposed Code of Practice covers handrails, winch safety, emergency stopping mechanisms, safety training and numerous other aspects which historical incidents including MAIB investigations have identified these as a cause of injuries and fatalities.