A report by The Marine Accident Investigation Branch found that the trawler crew hadn’t been given the proper rescue training.
Ghanian fisherman Joshua Aryeetey, 47, died after falling overboard the Banff-registered Beryl fishing boat last February.
The victim was wearing a lifejacket and was conscious when he fell off the trawler, but spent 49 minutes in the water, the (MAIB) has reported. His crew mates had made several attempts to save him but without any success.
The MAIB report said: “The crew’s attempts to recover the casualty on board were unsuccessful.
“The crewman was unresponsive when eventually recovered onto a rescue craft launched from a nearby offshore support vessel.”
Aryeetey was taken by coastguard helicopter to Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick, but by the time he arrived it was too late.
The MAIB report found that the crew on the Beryl had not been fully trained on how to act in this situation, and despite making several attempts to try and safe the fisherman, they were incapable of doing so.
“The accident occurred because the crewman was standing in an unsafe position.”, the report states.
“It is one of a number of recent accidents in which fishermen have died after falling or being carried or swept overboard while trawling when the vessels’ crews have been unable to recover them back on board.
“In this case, Beryl’s crew had not completed a practical man overboard drill during their time on board and they were unfamiliar with the man overboard recovery system carried.
“Recommendations have been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations and the Sea Fish Industry Authority.
“These are aimed at identifying initiatives to encourage fishermen to conduct practical emergency drills and to use risk assessments as a catalyst for behavioural change.
“The recommendations are also intended to improve the likelihood of recovering persons from the water by ensuring that the recovery systems carried by fishing vessels are suitable and that sufficient and realistic man overboard drills are carried out on board.
“A recommendation has also been made to Beryl’s owner, which seeks to improve the overall safety of its crews, and their ability to respond to emergencies.”