Report into death of Claddagh fisherman cites rough weather and no lifejacket

Galway Daily news Report into death of Claddagh fisherman cites rough weather and no lifejacket

Not wearing a lifejacket, dangerous weather, and using a mobile phone to raise the alarm were highlighted in a Marine Casualty Investigation Board report into the death of a Claddagh fisherman last year.

Tom Oliver was out with his father aboard the FV Myia on the afternoon of November 2, 2020, when he was tragically drowned after being pulled overboard.

The two were resetting a train of shrimp pots near Blackrock around 1:30pm, when Mr Oliver got his leg tangled in their rope, and was pulled overboard.

During the timeframe of this incident, westerly winds neared gale force 7, with gusts of up to 50 knots.

Rescue services were called at 1:43pm using a mobile phone, and the Galway RNLI lifeboat arrived at 1:58, when he was still tangled in the ropes and unconscious.

After being recovered from the water the lifeboat crew performed CPR on the way to a waiting ambulance, but Oliver was pronounced dead on arriving at University Hospital Galway.

The MCIB report said that weather conditions had “deteriorated” after the Myia left port, and would have been seriously challenging for a vessel of its size, which may have contributed to violent movements that dragged the unfortunate victim overboard.

It noted that there are no manufacturers recommendations on the operational limitations of this type of vessel, and the manufacturing company is no longer in existence.

“In either case it would appear the vessel was undertaking an inherently dangerous task in conditions beyond the safe limit to do so.”

The report highlighted that Mr Oliver was not wearing a personal floatation device, which would have “greatly improved” his chances of survival.

A mobile phone was used for the distress call, rather than a Digital Select Calling (DSC) or Mayday call on VHF radio, which “added some delay” to the distress call.

The call was first made to a relative, who passed the warning on. But a Mayday call over the VHF radio would have been “picked up immediately” by the Valentia Coastguard.