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Capsize Warning Device Could Save Lives

Education & academia

UK - Tragic accidents at sea caused by vessel instability could easily be prevented by installing an electronic device to warn of the danger of capsize, according to the developer of the product.

With the issue of vessel instability currently making the headlines yet again due to the current inquiry into the loss of the Peterhead registered fishing vessel Trident in 1974, Ken Smith, director of Scottish based Hook Marine Ltd, says that mariners can easily monitor stability issues at sea by installing on their vessels an inexpensive electronic device developed by the company.

Hook Marine manufactures the SeaWise Vessel Stability Monitor, which was developed following many reports by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) which show that around 60 per cent of vessel losses at sea are due to foundering or capsizing.

Capsize is associated with a loss of vessel stability and this new electronic device provides early warning of the development of a potentially dangerous situation by continually monitoring the rolling motion of a vessel at sea. The development of SeaWise has been sponsored by the UK Sea Fish Industry Authority and Scottish Enterprise, and has undergone successful sea trials on different types of vessel.

Ken Smith says: “Perhaps the most significant finding in the MAIB analysis was the fact that while the accident rate in other industries has been declining in recent years, there has been no corresponding reduction in the UK fishing industry.

“It is particularly concerning that the majority of accidents occur on small vessels where there is currently no legal requirement for stability assessment. By using a simple but effective device such as the SeaWise monitor, fishermen and other mariners can play a vital role in protecting the lives of both themselves and their crew.”

This much-needed improvement in vessel safety will be eligible for European Fisheries Fund grant support for fishermen purchasing and installing the device on their vessels.