Fisherman 'not wearing life jacket'
Published 24/01/2013 | 00:45
A Ukrainian fisherman swept overboard to his death while working with nets off the coast of Northern Ireland was not wearing a life jacket and had false papers, a report has said.
Nikolai Nedoliz, 35, was in the UK under a fake name and passport when the Irish Sea accident happened a year ago.
It was blamed on the unsafe practice of crew standing on the top rail at the back of the Zenith, a report from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said.
A large wave swamped the vessel's stern and carried the victim into the sea. At least five similar fatal accidents have been noted by MAIB inspectors and in just over a decade 34 deadly man overboard accidents occurred when crewmen were not wearing flotation devices.
The review said: "Mr Nedoliz climbed on top of the bulwark rail to simplify a task that was unnecessary and, in any event, could have been carried out safely from the deck."
Prawn nets were being wound onto a drum on January 29, 29 miles off Kilkeel, Co Down, and Mr Nedoliz was standing on the edge of the boat with his back to the sea, helping prevent the lines from becoming entangled.
He had fished on the Zenith, home port Kilkeel, for three years and onboard other trawlers before that but only attended one day's safety training.
Mr Nedoliz was fit and hard-working but uncommunicative - although said to have spoken good English - the report said.
The skipper intended to guide the nets onto the drums by steering the ship's stern into them, avoiding the need for manual help. He did not tell the victim, assuming he would recognise this.
The report said: "The practice of working from the top rail was clearly unsafe, and it was only a matter of time before it led to an accident."