Crew fatigue a factor in Tit Bonhomme tragedy

The report into the Tit Bonhomme trawler tragedy is expected to focus on what roles crew fatigue and their training in emergency drills played in the disaster which claimed five lives.

Crew fatigue a factor in Tit Bonhomme tragedy

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) confirmed last night that it has completed its 13-month probe into why the vessel went down off Cork in Jan 2012 and is set to publish its findings next week.

A MCIB spokesman said the final report had been delivered to the relatives of the victims in recent days.

Even though the vessel had a minor mechanical issue with a bilge pump, it is understood the report has ruled out a major mechanical or structural problem as the cause of the accident.

It is also understood to have ruled out bad weather or defects in navigational equipment as major factors in the incident.

The report is expected to state that a combination of factors, including rosters, crew fatigue, and their training in or their familiarity with emergency drills, were all a factor in the disaster.

Five men died when the vessel sank after hitting rocks at the mouth of Glandore Harbour in the early hours of Jan 15 last year as it returned from a fishing trip.

Just one crewman, Abdo Mohamad, 43, survived. He was winched in a critical condition from a rocky headland nearby shortly after the vessel went down.

The tragedy triggered one of the largest and most concentrated search and recovery operations in the history of the State.

Backed by an immense community effort, the combined work of several state and voluntary agencies resulted in the recovery of the bodies of Kevin Kershaw, 21, Wael Mohamad, 25, and Attia Shaban, 26, within days of the sinking. How-ever, the search for skipper Michael Hayes, 52, and Egyptian crewman Saied Aly Eldin, 23, continued for 26 days until their remains were also recovered.

The MCIB completed a draft report in January and following feedback from the natural justice parties, it is now poised to publish its findings early next week.

The report is also expected to outline how there were five immersion suits on the vessel when it went down, even though there were six people on board.

It is also understood that while there were 13 life-jackets on board, only three were in a serviceable condition.

The sole survivor, Abdo Mohamad, whose brother, Wael, was among those to perish, was wearing one of the serviceable jackets.

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