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Surveyors from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are to carry out surprise inspections of fishing vessels across the UK, it was announced on Wednesday 9 June.

The unannounced inspections will be part of work to promote fishing vessel safety in an industry recognised to be one of the most dangerous in the world.

Since November 2020, there have been eight deaths in the UK fishing industry – equivalent to more than 10% of the previous total over ten years.

Between 2011 and 2020 the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) reported 60 fatalities from UK fishing vessels. 

The MCA continues to work with the fishing industry, reinforcing messages about legislation and safety standards for crews and vessels.

Surveyors regularly carry out surveys and inspections of fishing vessels and those that do not meet requirements can be detained until deficiencies are corrected.

The MCA has also worked with industry and other partners to drive home the message about wearing personal flotation devices.

Now the agency has said that it will take action where it feels advice is being ignored and safety not taken seriously.

An MCA spokesperson said: “Fishing is one of the most dangerous industries in the world. We’ve pushed the message for many years now about the importance of wearing life jackets and making sure that fishing vessels are fit for purpose under the survey and inspection regime.

“While education is important, enforcement is also needed for those who consistently ignore our message, to emphasise why this matters and why we take it seriously.

“The MCA continues to work with industry as part of all of our ongoing commitment to reduce the deaths which cause so much heartache and sadness to so many.”