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Amity Goes for Onboard Support Scheme in to Enhance Vessel Safety

15 August 2012

SCOTLAND, UK - One of Scotland’s best known fishing skippers has successfully put his vessel and crew through the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation new Onboard Support Scheme, which is now playing an important role in helping prevent accidents at sea.

Crew safety has always been a top priority for skipper Jimmy Buchan of the Amity, which is why he decided to participate in the SFF’s Onboard Support Scheme following the completion of a major refit of his vessel.

The new scheme for SFF members is designed to produce a safety management system for fishing vessels by providing assistance in formulating an onboard risk assessment. The SFF is using a proven Danish designed online safety system which is very straight forward to adopt. The initiative has been very well received in Denmark and its success has been reflected in the decrease of accidents and fatalities in the Danish fishing sector.

As well as providing an opportunity to develop a risk assessment, the management system allows skippers to record many different aspects of running their vessel including the expiry dates of life saving appliances, survey dates, creating lifting equipment records and recording crew certificate details.

Skipper Buchan, who is well known for his starring role in the BBC’s ‘Trawlermen’ TV series, contacted SFF Safety Officer Derek Cardno about participating in the scheme following his vessel’s refit. An initial fishing trip by the Amity enabled the crew to make an assessment of the vessel’s operational performance, which was then followed by a briefing session where Mr Cardno guided the whole crew through the online system.

Mr Cardno said: “It is the SFF’s role to instigate discussions around the whole fishing operation from boarding right through to departing the vessel at the end of the trip. This stimulates recorded debate and discussion amongst the crew about the operation of the vessel and steps that can be taken to enhance safety.

“The crew had several good discussions covering the operations of Amity and of their own working practices and safety. Indeed, the crew developed three specific safety instruction sheets on how to reduce the risk of the most dangerous work activities that they had all identified.

“Amity’s crew had just landed that morning and were obviously tired but fully took part in all the discussions and quickly released that the system is there for their benefit. The crew all stated that it was the first time any of them had been involved in a fishing vessel risk assessment and thought it was brilliant to be able to discuss safety onboard.”

Jimmy Buchan said: “This scheme is exactly what I needed and having someone from the SFF guiding the crew through the discussions and recording their thoughts was priceless. I particularly like the idea that I will receive a prompt when any of my life saving appliances is due for renewal - for me that is something less to worry about.”

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