The NFFO is encouraging fishing vessel owners to make use of the EMFF funds not only to gain early minimum compliance with the upcoming codes but to improve the vessel safety beyond that which is required. Changes in the new codes where EMFF money can assist are vessels under 15m which will require an EPIRB with a built-in GPS receiver. However, if the vessel is less than 10m or operates single handed, owners can instead opt for a PLB with a GPS receiver for each crew member. An open vessel between 7m and 15m, or a decked vessel between 7m and 10m will also now be required to carry a liferaft.
NFFO Safety and Training Officer Robert Greenwood, who is also the chairman of the FISG Promotion of Safety Group commented: “The biggest improvement in terms of safety isn’t necessarily going to come from the equipment but the requirement for emergency drills. If every vessel did regular emergency drills they not only would be prepared in case the worst ever happened, but they would also be raising awareness of what and how an accident could occur – hopefully this awareness will reduce the chance of an accident.”
The FISG members are all keen to ensure that for these particular items there should be a two year phase-in period to help owners reduce the cost of the equipment. The phase-in period allows EMFF money to be used to help with the cost of the items which remain non-mandatory during the phase-in period.
“This is a great example of the type of co-operation that occurs as a result of the Fishing Industry Safety Group,” Robert Greenwood said. “Although not a requirement, it is recommended that all vessels carry both a vessel mounted EPIRB and PLBs for everyone.”
“EMFF offers a great opportunity to improve safety and we will help any members with their needs, as I am sure all federations and associations will. This year we have a focus on man overboard and have worked with Fibrelight to develop an affordable man overboard ‘dummy’ which is now available from ADEC Marine where members can receive a 12.5% discount on all sales, servicing and hiring,’ he said.
“I would encourage owners wishing to submit an EMFF application to consider adding MOB prevention, mitigation and rescue into their plans.”