NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Skipper died after wheelhouse hatch fall says report

Artemis Image copyright MAIB
Image caption The incident on the Artemis happened in April last year

The skipper of a Fraserburgh-registered boat died when he fell through the wheelhouse hatch after three hours drinking in a pub, a report has said.

Andrew Hay, 56, died after the incident on the Artemis in Kilkeel, County Down, Northern Ireland, in April last year.

He suffered severe head injuries after falling to the deck below.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said Mr Hay was more than four times the legal alcohol limit for professional seafarers while on duty.

The MAIB said modifications to the design of the wheelhouse hatch had increased the likelihood of someone falling through the opening.

The trawler was travelling from Fraserburgh to Cornwall when the incident happened.

The Artemis had stopped off at Kilkeel harbour for repairs.

Mr Hay and another crew member went to a local pub where they had whisky and beer.

When they returned, Mr Hay fell head-first through the hatch. It was not known if he slipped, tripped or stumbled.

The alarm was raised and emergency services arrived, but Mr Hay - who had been involved in fishing since he was a teenager - was declared dead.

The report said: "It was apparent that the access route layout, which had been modified after build, and the effects of alcohol consumption had both contributed to the fall and the severity of the injuries suffered."

The MAIB said statistics indicated that, since 1992, alcohol had been a contributing factor in 62% of fishing fatalities that had happened in port.

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