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Posts Tagged ‘fatality’

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The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch continues their investigation into the death of Simon Speirs aboard the Clipper 70 CV30, and they took a break in their investigating to publish a very important safety bulletin identifying why, exactly, Speirs’ tether didn’t save him from getting washed off the boat and drowned.  Read carefully, and don’t sail another offshore mile without ensuring your tethers can’t be wrecked by your cleats.  Here’s an excerpt:

The sailing yacht CV30 was taking part in the third leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race having left Cape Town on 31 October 2017 bound for Fremantle, Western Australia. At about 1414 local time on 18 November 2017, the yacht was in position 42°30.3’S, 087°36.3’E, approximately 1500nm from Fremantle, when a crew member, Simon Speirs, fell overboard. He was attached to the yacht by his safety harness tether. The hook at the end of the tether that was clipped to a jack-line, deformed and released resulting in him becoming separated from the yacht. Simon Speirs was recovered unconscious onto the yacht but sadly could not be resuscitated.

INITIAL FINDINGS: Simon Speirs was using a three-point webbing tether attached to the integral harness of his lifejacket that allowed him to clip on to the yacht with a short or long tether. A safety issue identified during the investigation was that the hook on the end of Mr Speirs’ tether had become caught under a deck cleat (see Figure 1), resulting in a lateral loading that was sufficient to cause the hook to distort (see Figure 2) and eventually release. The harness tether was certified under ISO12401 (Small craft – Deck safety harness and safety line – Safety requirements and test methods), which is the international standard applicable to this equipment. The standard contains detailed testing requirements that assume the tether and its hooks will be loaded longitudinally rather than laterally. The tether hook was of a conventional design and quality of build, and was commonly used by manufacturers of safety harnesses and tethers that were certified under ISO12401. When loaded longitudinally, the tether can withstand a load of over 1 tonne. However, when loaded laterally a tether hook will deform at much less load. It is important that tether hooks remain clear of obstructions and are free to rotate to align the load longitudinally.

 

January 12th, 2018 by admin

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The two fatalities in the 2015/16 Clipper Round the World Race were the first in the company’s history, and after a comprehensive report on those deaths from the UK’s MAIB giving stern recommendations for improved safety procedures at Clipper Ventures plc, the last thing anyone would expect is yet another fatality just a year later!  Yesterday, that’s exactly what happened; 60 year old former lawyer from Bristol UK Simon Spiers was washed off the foredeck of Clipper CV30, yet despite being clipped in, the Clipper says he was separated from the boat and likely drowned.  Spiers’ body was recovered by the crew and given a burial at sea.

No amount of the Clipper PR team’s “quiet reflections” addresses what has to be considered something of a crisis in this high-profile round-the-world ‘adventure race’; in just three years, three participants in the Clipper race have now died at sea; two washed overboard and drowned, and one crushed by the clew of a sail.  If you’re doing the math for the past two events, based on the Clipper’s own numbers (700 sailors per event), that means 1 in 466 Clipper participants has now died – and that’s assuming no one else loses their life on the 2/3 of the current race remaining.  Considering one entry just went hard aground on a well marked shoal off South Africa without any explanation, nothing would surprise us about the Clipper fleet – and that’s terrifying, especially with the lack of experience aboard.

We’re not sure whether the RYA should shut the Clipper down while they figure out just why people keep dying on their boats, but we do think that if 3 people in another sporting event died over three years, there’d be some serious investigations underway of the people who were supposed to keep them safe.

Get in on the thread here.

 

November 19th, 2017 by admin

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18058096_1689947454356623_5403446288417679487_nThe multiple-fatality wreck of the Dipiu we told you about last week was hauled off the Rimini jetty over the weekend as documented by Manual Migliorini from Il Resto Di Carlino here. The Italian Coast Guard is now focusing on engine issues as the primary cause of the wreck.  One source told us the on-deck crew was actually washed off the boat in a breaking wave that also flooded the boat and shut down the engine, and the only crew to make it out alive were those stuck inside the boat when she was thrown onto the rocks.  We’re also told one sailor tried to rescue his girlfriend, whose foot was stuck between two rocks on the jetty…they both drowned.  All in all, a horrible story that could have been entirely prevented by listening or reading one of dozens of forecasts and warnings available to everyone in the area for days.  One Anarchist says undue respect for a senseless tragedy doesn’t do anyone any favors.  “Skol” writes in the thread:

My condolences to the families that are affected.  Given the comments in the forum, I feel somebody should speak up.  Terrorism is a tragedy. Gun violence is a tragedy.  This particular accident was caused by a suicidal, murderous asshole. The skipper paid the price? And what about his son-in-law or his grandchildren, or his (ex) wife?  What are they paying – respects? Bullshit.

The conversation here should be about the living and keeping them that way if facing similar conditions.  If that’s done in acerbic and unpleasant terms, well tough shit. It’s not a disrespect for the dead. It’s a wakeup call to the people who potentially don’t take their safety and their crew’s safety seriously enough.  You know there was probably words of respect and moderation on board that boat before 4 people lost their lives, when what there should have been was a fucking mutiny.

So – how many of us have been out on a daysailing on a 30~40 foot pleasure yacht without adequate storm gear?  I’m guessing that’s most of us. Putting aside the boneheaded choices that got them (or you) out there in the first place, what would you have done? 

[  ] not enough sea room for a sea-anchor, even if they had one 

[  ] not enough sea room to run downwind.  NE gale was perpendicular to the coast 

[  ] attempt to heave to (… on a fin keel boat close to lee shore, not the wisest option)   

[A] motorsail to windward under reefed main, sliver of furled jib, or any combo thereof. 

[B] attempt a broad reach parallel to the coast under reefed main 

[C] combo of a & b to maintain searoom until reasonable window for port entry 

Running for port just isn’t on the damned list. Running for port under power without a scrap of sail up is doubly not on the goddamned list. If they left port with a damaged rig while under storm warning in the forecast, I’m sorry, but it was a suicide run from the beginning. It really makes my blood boil.  So again – for the sake of the living, please note!:

NO SAIL and NO MOTOR is NO CONTROL.  Add that recipe to a lee shore and you’re finished.  

A sailboat auxiliary engine is just that: auxiliary.  Trust it only at GRAVE and MORTAL fucking peril! 

And finally, if the skipper is on a suicide mission, speak the fuck up. I don’t care if it is your daddy, I don’t care if it’s your daddy’s best friends. For fuck’s sake say something. 

April 24th, 2017 by admin

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