Thursday, 26 March 2015

NINE ROWERS RESCUED FROM THE RIVER ITCHEN, SOUTHAMPTON

Nine rowers, who were out on a training exercise, have been recovered from the River Itchen near Northam Bridge this evening after their rowing skiff capsized and they were thrown into the water. The incident was coordinated by the National Maritime Operations Centre at Fareham, who requested the Calshot RNLI Lifeboat, Hillhead and Southampton Coastguard Rescue Teams to attend.

The lifeboat recovered eight people from the water and the club’s safety boat recovered a further one.

Maritime Operations Controller Ian Guy said:

“All of the rowers were recovered to the shore by the inshore lifeboat and the safety boat . Although cold and wet, they are safe and well.”

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

OWNER OF THAMES CRUISE VESSEL FINED FOR NO PASSENGER SAFETY CERTIFICATE

At the City of London Magistrates today, Colin Bullock, the Director of River Thames Boat Hire Ltd, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Merchant Shipping Act.

Mr Bullock was the owner and sole operator of the Kingwood, a Thames steamer cruise boat, built in 1915. The vessel’s Passenger Safety certificate expired on 23rd January 2013.

At approximately 9pm on New Year’s Eve 2013, the Kingwood was involved in a stern-to-stern collision while it was attempting to berth at Greenwich pier. There were no injuries and only minimal damage was sustained to the vessel. The Kingwood was due to be used as a party boat for the New Year’s celebrations despite not having a valid passenger safety certificate.

The event had been advertised online as a four and a half hour cruise embarking from Greenwich Pier. The price per passenger was £140 including alcoholic drinks, 99 tickets had been sold.  The cruise was abandoned. At the time Mr Bullock was acting as the Master of the Kingwood.

Mr Bullock was subsequently interviewed by members of the MCA Enforcement Unit and admitted that during 2013, he had carried out 30 cruises even though he was aware he had no certification. Mr Bullock’s Boat Master Licence (BML) had also expired some two years previously, he admitted carrying out 90 trips without a valid BML. Mr Bullock no longer owns the Kingwood.

The Chairman of the Bench said in passing sentence that he was concerned any insurance would have been invalidated during the 90 trips.

Mr Bullock was fined £3,000 for each offence and £5,000 costs, £120 victims surcharge totalling £11,120.


Andy Rudge, Area Operations Manager for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said, “To ensure the safety of the travelling public it is important that passenger vessels complete safety surveys and are properly manned with qualified crew at all times.”

Monday, 23 March 2015

Fisherman breaches Prohibition Notice

At a hearing today at Weymouth Magistrates Court, the Owner/Skipper of a fishing vessel was fined a total of £500 plus costs of £1000 plus a victim impact surcharge of £50 after pleading guilty to breaches of maritime safety legislation.

The Freya May is a small wooden fishing vessel which is 6.5m in length and is owned and skippered by Luke Copperthwaite.  The vessel had been inspected in late 2012 by a surveyor from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) when some defects were noted. The defects included lack of safety training and radio certificates plus structural problems with the wheelhouse. Although some of the defects were subsequently cleared, the MCA was not notified.

The vessel inspection certificate subsequently expired.   Attempts to contact Mr Copperthwaite brought no response. Eventually a Prohibition Notice was issued stopping the Freya May from sailing as a commercial fishing vessel.  Again no response was received so the matter was passed to the MCA Enforcement Unit for further action.
Mr Copperthwaite was finally interviewed in October 2013 when he admitted that he had not done the required courses and that the boat was now out of the water as he was working ashore. 

The Freya May was subsequently seen working at sea with Mr Copperthwaite on several occasions.  It was also observed that the vessel fishing numbers had become unreadable.  Attempts to contact Mr Copperthwaite did not evoke a response.

Luke Copperthwaite aged 33 from Portland, Dorset pleaded guilty to breaching the terms of a Prohibition Notice, failing to comply with the under 10m code of practice and allowing his fishing numbers to become unreadable.  Mr Copperthwaite was fined £500 plus a victim impact surcharge of £50 and costs of £1000 were awarded against him.

In passing sentence the Chairman of the Bench stated: Mr Copperthwaite bought this matter down on his own head.

Amir Esmiley, Area Operations Manager at the Southampton Marine Office of the MCA said:
“Prohibition Notices are issued to ensure safety at sea and stop unsafe acts.  They should not be ignored in the hope they will go away.”

WHAT TO CHECK ON YOUR BOAT - CHECKING YOUR LIFE SAVING EQUIPMENT

No one ever wants to use their life saving equipment on a boat, but as Marine Surveyors it’s one of the most important things we check.  We want to know it will work when someone needs it and it has to work each time it’s needed.

When you see a surveyor out doing an inspection or survey and we’re wearing a lifejacket, it’s because we understand the dangers from years of experience and it tells us to wear a lifejacket when on the water. We take responsibility for our safety and you should take yours seriously as well.

Your lifejacket is your primary piece of safety equipment and it has to work, whatever the type is. 
On your lifejacket or buoyancy aid, check that it is in date.  If it is out of date, get it serviced.  Check the light if you have one, if you don’t we recommend that you fit one.  Check that the seams are intact on the inflatable parts and check the stitching on the straps.

You need to check that the gas bottle is free from rust and screwed in and if you are using a foam lifejacket or personal floatation device, also check that it is dry and free from rot.  We also want to remind you that when you wear it, make sure it is correctly fitted and always use a crotch strap if your lifejacket has one fitted.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear a lifejacket when on deck.

You need to be able to call for help if the worse does happen so a VHF/DSC radio is a must.  Make sure you get trained how to use it and when you want to do a radio check, you can call a marina or another boat to make sure it works.  Our friends in the Coastguard are always listening, but they need to listen for emergencies on CH16, not radio checks.

Make sure that your flares are in date and if they are out date, dispose of them correctly.
If you have a personal locator beacon or EPIRB make sure you register it at gov.uk/406Beacon and you can perform a test on it by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you have a life raft check that it is correctly stowed so that when you need it in a hurry, you can get to it.  Check the date and if it needs servicing, now’s a good time to get that done.

You should also register your boat with the Coastguards CG66 scheme.  I’ve added the link below for you to do this.

By now your boat will be almost ready to go to sea, but there’s one last thing you need to check to be safe.  Are you trained in how to handle your type of boat? 

It might seem strange to think of yourself as part of the safety equipment, but your skill at sea is what will keep you alive.  We recommend you get trained before you set out.



David Polley – Marine Technician and Surveyor Belfast Marine Office.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

COASTGUARD LOCATE FOUR CUT OFF BY TIDE

This afternoon just after 6pm the National Maritime Operations Centre were contacted by Dorset Police. The police had received a 999 call from a foreign national who was panicking because he and his group of three friends were lost and becoming cut off by a rising tide.

The Coastguard dealing with the foreign national, connected the call to a language interpreter as well. This enabled a series of thorough questions to be received and translated so that the location of the group could be identified.

The Swanage Coastguard Rescue Team, who were already in the area having dealt with a mud rescue, diverted onto the search for the missing men. The men were thought to be in the vicinity between the Pinnacles and Old Harry Rocks.

The Swange inshore and all weather lifeboats were requested to the search area, and while the Coastguard was still on the line to the foreign man, the lifeboat located the group and recovered them all safety.

The group of four men were then transferred to the Poole lifeboat and are being taken back to Poole.

National Maritime Operations Controller for the UK Coastguard, Matt Leat said

It is important to always check the weather and tidal conditions before you set out so that you can prepare accordingly. At sea changes in tidal streams could make conditions worse, particularly if the wind and tide are against each other. You can check marine weather at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/marine/ and tides at http://easytide.ukho.gov.uk/EasyTide/

If you do find yourself cut off by a rising tide, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

COASTGUARD RESCUE TWO FROM MUD IN POOLE


This afternoon just after 5pm the National Maritime Operations Centre received two calls in quick succession about two different casualties stuck in the Mud in the Poole area of Dorset.

The first incident involved a local lady walking her dog. The Poole Coastguard Rescue Team (CRT) were able to release the woman from the mud using their specialist mud rescue equipment.  The Dorset Fire team also arrived on scene to assist. The lady was freed from the mud and handed into the care of an ambulance team. Her dog is also fine.

On the other side of the harbour, a bait digger also become stuck in the mud. The Swanage CRT got on scene quickly to assist the man. The Poole CRT and the Dorset Fire team proceeded to the scene via the Swanage chain ferry.

Steve Mann, the Coastguard Senior Maritime Operations Officer, said


Today in both instances the Coastguard was informed first, which meant we were able to quickly get on scene. Our advice if you do find yourself stuck in the mud, is to try to spread your weight as much as possible, avoid moving and stay as calm as you can. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard and we’ll get our specially trained teams out to you as quickly as possible. Discourage others from attempting to rescue you, since without the proper equipment they could become stuck in the mud as well.

Friday, 20 March 2015

WHAT TO CHECK ON YOUR BOAT - CHECKING YOUR ENGINE, ELECTRICS AND GAS

These batteries were under oily bilge water as can be 
seen by the residue on the cables and the marks on 
the bulkheads and the connections are now 
extremely corroded. 
As a marine Surveyor I inspect all sorts of vessels to make sure they are safe to go to sea.  Everything we do is about keeping ships, their crews and passengers safe and our knowledge can be used by pleasure boaters to keep you safe as well.

When it comes to your engine, there are things you can check yourself, such as the oil and water levels.  Check to see if you have oil leaking from the seals and if you do you will need to get them replaced.  Don’t forget to check the batteries to make sure the acid levels are correct and there’s no corrosion on the terminals or the connectors. 

It’s a good idea to get your engine serviced before you first set out. It may have been sitting there all winter so get it checked by a professional before it breaks down and you need to be towed in.

With your electrics, make sure that everything is working as it should be.  Check that your navigation lights are working and if you think there’s a problem anywhere with your electrics, get a specialist. 

If you cook on your boat or use gas to make a much needed cup of tea you should have a look at the rubber hose and connections from the gas bottle.  Look for any signs of wear on the hose or corrosion on the connectors.  If you think any needs replacing, you’ll need to call a certified gas engineer to fix it.

Next week one of my colleagues will be talking to you about your life saving equipment and what you can do to make sure it will help keep you safe in an emergency.


Devendra Das – Chief Engineer and Surveyor Glasgow Marine Office.