Training key in Korean boat tragedy

By Kieran Campbell

Fishing boat sank due to failure to shut doors in bad weather. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Fishing boat sank due to failure to shut doors in bad weather. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A fishing boat sank south of New Zealand, killing 22 sailors, because the crew failed to keep doors closed during bad weather and they hadn't had adequate training, a report has found.

The Korean toothfish boat Insung 1 sank in the Southern Ocean off Campbell Island on December 13, 2010.

More than half the 42 crew members died - 17 were never found.

The Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal report says failing to shut doors in bad weather meant seawater blown in by strong winds flooded rooms.

"The sinking also reflects failures of ship management as the ship owner failed to provide adequate safety instruction and training in language the crew members of five different countries could understand."

The report also criticises the captain for failing to evacuate the ship in a timely manner. "This failure led the crew members to fall into water, only -1 to 0 [degrees] at the time and led many to die of hypothermia."

The report said lessons had been learned from the tragedy:

All vessels sailing the Southern Ocean must be braced for bad weather.

The manuals on lifesaving devices and emergency plans must be written in languages crew members can understand.

In the Southern Ocean people about to drown must be given priority in rescue operations.

Vessels with multinational crew members must thoroughly train all crew members for possible emergency situations.

- APNZ

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