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The Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (ILO188) – PFDs and More

The Regulations implementing the Work in Fishing Convention 2017 (ILO188), namely the Merchant Shipping (Work in Fishing Convention) Regulations 2018 and Merchant Shipping (Work in Fishing Convention) (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2018 require fishermen to be given proper health and safety training and instruction before beginning duties on-board and/or if there is a change in their responsibilities. The health and safety training must be reviewed and repeated periodically. Appropriate records, including signed acknowledgments by crew and skippers should be kept. All fishermen, irrespective of their status/position, should be familiar with on-board procedures and safety equipment. Furthermore, when assigning tasks, the owner or skipper should keep in mind the capabilities of the individual.

Owners should note that along with the introduction of increased safety measures, the MCA will now enforce the requirement enshrined in the Regulations for fishermen to use a safety harness and/or a personal floatation device. All fishermen must wear these where identified as necessary and there must be a documented Man Overboard risk assessment. Owners/skippers should ensure that regular drills and good record keeping is maintained.

A month in to the Regulations being law, the MCA are yet to issue an update on compliance statistics.  However, we anticipate that where any deficiencies are identified, the MCA are likely to insist on Detention Notices until satisfactory compliance has been demonstrated. Failures which then result in serious casualties, or even minor accidents, can expect to be dealt with proportionately with heavy penalties including custodial sentences.

Mackinnons can advise on the detailed requirements of the Regulations and can provide assistance in achieving compliance with the increased safety measures.  For more information, please contact Martin Sinclair or Graham Jones or call 01224 632464.

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