Coast Guard to Carry Out “Unannounced Inspections” of Fishing Vessels


Inspectors from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are to carry out unannounced inspections of fishing vessels across the UK.

The inspections are carried out as part of the ongoing work on fishing vessel safety in an industry known to be one of the most dangerous in the world.

Since November 2020, there have been eight deaths – more than ten percent of the total for the previous 10 years. Between 2011 and 2020, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) reported 60 deaths on British fishing vessels.

Coast Guard vehicles at Wick Bay. Image: DGS

The MCA has worked solidly with the fishing industry, reinforcing messages on the legislative requirements for safety standards for crews and vessels.

Inspectors regularly visit and inspect fishing vessels and detain those that do not meet the requirements of the law, until these deficiencies are corrected.

The MCA has also worked with industry and other partners to get the message out about wearing personal flotation devices.

However, the agency has said it can and will take action when it believes advice is being ignored and safety is not taken seriously.

Tony Heslop, Deputy Director of Investigation and Inspection, said: “Fishing is one of the most dangerous industries in the world. We have been spreading the message for many years now about the importance of wearing life jackets and ensuring that fishing vessels are fit for use under the survey and inspection regime.

“While education is important and we will continue to do so, the app is also necessary for those who consistently ignore our message, to highlight why this is important and why we take it seriously.”

Unannounced inspections will be carried out at a number of locations across the UK.

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