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Irish Fishermen to Receive Personal Locator Beacon

20 January 2014

IRELAND - As part of the rollout of the Government’s first marine safety strategy underpinned by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM)’s Enhanced Safety Training Programme, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Simon Coveney, T.D. oversaw the signing of a contract with Gweedore-based, manufacturing group SIOEN, makers of the Mullion brand Compact 150N automatic lifejacket with the manually operated Kannad PLB which is attached to the inflatable bladder secured inside the cover.

The Donegal based manufacturer of the Mullion – Compact range of PFD will, under the agreement, supply PFDs with an integrated Personal Locator Beacons (PLB’s) to applicants under BIMs Enhanced Safety Scheme. The Irish fishing industry will be the first in the EU to utilise this life-saving equipment.

The new life jackets will revolutionise safety equipment usage, they support life - as all life-jackets do - but the most important addition is the integrated PLB which alerts the rescue services to your exact location and so greatly maximises your chances of being rescued. The introduction of this new equipment should significantly boost a fisherman’s chances of surviving at sea in the event of an accident.

As the Agency administering the safety training and grant-aided safety equipment purchase scheme, BIM called on all fishermen to apply for and complete the training without delay, BIM Chief Executive, Jason Whooley said: "The success of this Scheme will greatly be determined by the fishing industry. BIM are calling on every skipper and their crew to sign up for training now, if they have not already availed of it.

"We strongly believe that by twinning proper training with the appropriate equipment that we can deliver on our remit to maximize safety training uptake and heighten awareness of the reality of safety at sea."

Mr Whooley called on the fishing industry to now play their part by actively engaging with BIM for the training. Their personal role is crucial in influencing the outcome of Ireland’s first safety strategy for their sector.

Mr Gaetan Frys, General Manager Sioen Ireland said: “We are delighted to be awarded this prestigious contract by BIM. The Mullion brand is identified throughout the commercial fishing and offshore exploration industries and emergency rescue services, not only in Ireland but UK and other European fleets. The research and development that resulted in this new Mullion product was achieved with the support of fishermen, rescue services, RNLI and the Fishing Industry Safety Group UK. It is the most comfortable wearable solution for crew on fishing vessels or any other marine industry boating activity”.

From 2013-2016 BIM will run a special deal for skippers who can complete the training and purchase the new grant-aided equipment. On completion of BIM's new one-day Enhanced Safety Training Scheme, skippers qualify to buy a grant-aided personal flotation device (PFD) fitted with an integrated personal locator beacon (PLB).

Places on BIM’s Enhanced Safety Training Scheme will be offered to all skippers and crew of Irish registered fishing vessels and aquaculture workboats. Prior completion of the BIM three-day Basic Safety Training is an entry requirement in every case.

Download the grant-aid application form for the scheme

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