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Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of William Casuga Antonio [2010] FAI 46


In terms of section 6(1) of the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Death Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976, the Sheriff determined that William Casuga Antonio died at approximately 18:50 hours on 11 November 2009, in the North Sea approximately 5.5 miles off Macduff, Aberdeenshire. Mr Antonio died in the course of his employment as a deckhand, on the fishing vessel Osprey III. The cause of death was drowning. The Sheriff determined that Mr Antonio died after becoming entangled in fishing net as it ran from the rear deck of the vessel, and he was then carried overboard by the net.

Having heard evidence, the court determined that Mr Antonio's death might have been avoided had the Osprey III been carrying suitable, well maintained lifejackets available to the crew for them to wear during net shooting and hauling operations. The court further noted that Mr Antonio's death might have been avoided through the crew practicing “man overboard” drills, in order to ensure the crew had a good understanding of the effects on the human body from immersion in cold water, survival within the water, how to potentially recover a crew member from sea, and how to effect such a rescue successfully. The court finally noted that Mr Antonio's death might have been avoided had the Osprey III crew also been provided with a properly positioned life saving “cage”, to facilitate his recovery from the water.

In terms of section 6(1)(e), the court recommended that fishing vessel owners should encourage the use of suitable lifejackets by crew members when on deck during net shooting and hauling and other dangerous operations unless such lifejackets are seen to represent, in any particular situation, a risk to the wearer. The court further recommended that (a) skippers should be trained with regard to the effects of cold shock on the human body; (b) skippers should be trained as to the extent to which crew members require to obtain "health and safety training" and ensure that such training has taken place; and (c) the health and safety training of such crew members should include training as to the effects of cold water shock on the human body.