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Rescued boat crew had no common language

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  • Rescued boat crew had no common language

    An accident waiting to happen.
    Rescued boat crew had no common language
    Tuesday, 12 August 2008 15:01

    The international crew of a fishing boat that sank off the south-west coast of Ireland could not speak a common language, accident investigators have said today.

    Communication was so difficult between the 18 people on board the 36-metre Royalist, which got into problems off An Daingean, Co Kerry, in January that sign language had to be used.

    Even the skipper could not understand safety and risk notices which were written in English and Spanish on the UK-registered boat.

    AdvertisementThe UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch said a weather-tight door between the main working deck and an alley that was left open in rough seas was key to the sinking.

    There was a notice in English warning crew to ensure the door remained shut when at sea.

    All 18 crew were rescued by a French fishing boat which headed for the scene when it heard a distress signal.

    While the skipper and seven others were Portuguese, eight deck hands and an engine room operative were Indonesian, the cook was Spanish and the engineer was Peruvian.

    'The Portuguese nationals could generally communicate with the cook and engineer, but communication with the Indonesian crew was more difficult and was limited to an exchange of very basic Spanish words,' UK's MAIB report said.

    'None of the crew could understand or speak English and the skipper's knowledge of Spanish was very limited.'

    The boat's risk assessments were written in Spanish and could not be understood by all the crew, including the skipper, according to the MAIB investigation.

    It also said that the make-up of the nationality of the crew was against its licence regulations, which requires 75% of those onboard to be EU nationals.

    The Royalist sank after it was struck by two huge waves.
    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

  • #2
    The full MAIB report. Makes for interesting reading!


    • #3
      I've heard that not having a common language on board fishing (and sometimes larger vessels) can be a common occurance.


      • #4
        Only because crewing regulations are not enforced.

        Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


        • #5
          Was there meant to be 75% E.U. citizens on board. :confused:
          It seems there are still some very lax with safety laws,somebody has to die before they even think to enforce laws that are in place.
          What do you mean abandon ship
          Are they taking requests?


          • #6
            I have to say, reading the report one thing that jumps out is the Fantastic work done by the Irish services involved in the rescue of "Shark", Namely the Crew of L.E.Eithne who put on board a firefighting team, put out the fire, and restored emergency power to the vessel, along with the Air Corps Casa, the Coastguard Heli, and the Aranmore Lifeboat. This fine work goes unreported far too often. This story made a few lines in the Indo as seen on this site
            But for the most part, unless someone breaks the rules and posts details of these actions on this site, nobody is any wiser.

            Well done to all.

            Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.