To ask Her Majesty's Government, what assessment they have made of the 2021 Marine Accident Investigation Branch Annual Report, published on 9 June; in particular, the finding that 10 commercial fishermen lost their lives in 2021, the highest figure in a decade; and what steps they are taking in response to improve maritime safety and reduce fatalities.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) Annual Report reflects that fishing remains the most dangerous industry in the UK. Owners and Skippers are ultimately responsible for the safety of their vessels and crew.
Following the MAIB recommendations to improve maritime safety and reduce fatalities, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) introduced the Small Fishing Vessel Code of Practice in September 2021, which sets minimum standards for vessel construction, machinery, water freeing, freeboard, and stability. Vessels are now inspected both in and out of the water and the MCA have introduced inspections to take place at random, outside of the routine inspection cycle.
In addition, Seafish and the MCA have developed the Home and Dry website and have run three safety campaigns covering: risk assessment; man overboard and vessel stability. Since 2008, the MCA has provided £3 million to enable Seafish to obtain match funding to provide free safety training. The MCA have also supported the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Seafish in the delivery of Man Overboard Awareness events. The MCA are also developing new training and certification requirements which will extend certification for skippers of vessels from 16.5m to 7m.