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Showing posts with label MCA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MCA. Show all posts

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Transport minister Mark Harper announces major amendments to the medical requiremnts for small boat fishermen today in Newlyn.

Following extensive consultation with the industry, the Government has listened and will waive the requirement for routine medical checks for fishermen on vessels measuring 10 metres and under. While the safety of fishermen remains the top priority, the Government is delivering this pragmatic change so that small-scale fishing businesses aren’t unduly forced ashore and financially burdened by the cost of medical assessments, allowing them to continue fishing without restriction. Small-scale fishing businesses, represent over 80% of UK registered fishing vessels. 

Announcing the news this morning, transport secretary Mark Harper along with St Ives MP Derek Thomas and S East Cornwall MP Steve Double, toured the quays talking with with harbourmaster Jonathon Poynter and harbour commissioner Rob Wing before attending a meeting with industry members. 

Transport Secretary Mark Harper minister held his hands up and admitted they had got it wrong first time round and that he was hoping to hear approval from the industry during the course of the meeting for the relaxation of the rules. 

He said: “This Government backs our fishing industry, which is why we have listened to fishing communities and are easing the burden on small-scale fishermen to make sure they can continue their work unhindered. “Our fishing sector will be able to continue operating safely, protected by our world leading safety standards, while supporting the UK fishing industry that forms the backbone of so many coastal economies.  Vessels of 10 metres and under form a vital part of the UK’s fishing industry, and today we’re taking action to ensure those who work on them will not face the cost of medical assessments."

To that end, handliner Tim Pullen who works a punt from Mousehole, told of his first-hand experience of the current legislation - that of fishing singlehanded without any problems despite having had a heart by-pass years ago - Tim was also keen to seed that, in line with other EU states, that Under10m fishermen should be exempt from medical requirements. With this landmark decision, the government has also widened the eligibility criteria. Initially, during the consultation phase, the government proposed that fishermen on vessels of 10 metres and under must have worked for a minimum of 4 weeks in the year before the regulations took effect. However, recognising the potential for exclusion due to factors such as illness, the government has extended the time limit to 2 years.

Paul Trebilcok, Chris Rainford and Nathan De Rozarieux, on behalf of fishermen and industry organisations put their message across, while applauding the MCA and MMO for having listened to the small boat sector and responding in such a positive way they did, however, stress the apparent dis-connect between the relevant government departments and their inability to act in a timely fashion with regard to enforcing rules and regulations - especially in the case of small singlehanded boats who can ill afford to be tied up against the quay for weeks and weeks while the MMO or MCA labour over processing work to be carried out or rules to be complied with. 

Chris Ranford from the CFPO that represents the majority of small boat fishermen in Cornwall said he was pleased with the result, particularly because the initial legislation had had such a devastating impact on many fishermen who thought that their lives were being turned upside down and in some cases, ruined, for no good reason. He largely supported the idea that newcomers would be subject to more stringent rules but happy to hear that grandfather rights were effectively being bestowed on those who had been at sea for years fishing without any issues despite their existing and well managed medical conditions. he also stressed the economic and social benefit to the UK of fishing - citing a recent report that showed 15 jobs were supported ashore for every one fishermen at sea.

Earlier, while walking around the harbour with the Mark Harper, local MP Derek Thomas took the opportunity to press the case for supporting major investment in Newlyn. High on the priority list is the development of Sandy Cove for deep-water berthing and services to support an ever-increasing number and size of visiting vessels along with alternative road access - Newlyn saw nearly 30,000 tons of fuel and fish alone transported by road last year through 
the narrow streets.

Here is a summary of the Medical Exemption

Key Points from the Consultation Outcome Report on Medical Exemption for Existing Fishers on Vessels of 10 Metres and Under: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) conducted a public consultation from January 16, 2024, to February 27, 2024, regarding Medical Exemption for Existing Fishers on Vessels of 10 Metres and Under.
  • The consultation proposed an exemption from specific regulations for existing fishers on fishing vessels under 10 metres in length, as per the Merchant Shipping (Work in Fishing Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations 2018.
  • The exemption does not apply to vessels of 24 metres or more in length or to vessels staying at sea for more than three days, as per the Work in Fishing Convention.
  • The objective of the exemption is to support existing fishers in the UK fishing industry, reduce regulatory burdens on small businesses, and ensure safety while maintaining continuity in fishing operations.
  • Responses from the consultation were categorised to identify key messages and underwent peer review for analysis.

Overall, the report highlights the balance between supporting fishers' needs, industry requirements, and safety considerations within the fishing sector.

An 'M' notice was issued today given the full details of the exemption being introduced.

For any other fishermen needing medical here is a link to a list of GPs across the UK.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Urgent - MCA Medical Assessment - Harbour Master Assessmments and Sea Survival Certificate

This is a shout out from NUTFA to fishermen who are currently sorting their MCA medicals out.


"Please would any fisherman make contact with me if he/she has submitted evidence to the MCA medical assessor based on harbour master evidence. I am also seeking fishermen to come forward who have been asked to have a Sea Survival Course in order to obtain an ML5 medical certificate. I understand on both aspects that there are many.

I am concerned regarding potential insurance aspects of those fishers who now have a medical certificate issued on harbour master evidence and would wish to direct the fishers back to the medical assessor and MCA for clarification on the position that they now find themselves in with the withdrawal of support from harbour masters across the country to support evidence towards the medical assessment process. I have been advised by the Harbour Master Association that such evidence submitted is "null and void" and from the advice that NUTFA have taken on the insurance aspect of this difficulty, NUTFA are deeply concerned on the potential issues now at play with regard to potential insurance litigation in the future.

Secondly, I would like to collate numbers on the amount of fishermen who have been advised by the MCA medical assessor to obtain a Sea Survival Certificate as a requirement of the medical examination, particularly where the wet drill in the pool will be difficult or impossible due to conditions such as eczema, pneumonia, long covid, inability to swim, etc. I am also unclear on numbers as to whether the fishing training system will be able to cope with the number of fishermen now seeking to undertake a Sea Survival course imminently and again welcome data on numbers."

Thank you as always for the data/info which is making a huge difference on the current campaign. 

Thanks in anticipation. 

Please email on sarah@nutfa.co.uk or WhatsApp as usual on 07402 089170. 
Sarah Ready NUTFA

Thursday 4 April 2019

National Coastwatch Institution - great work and all done by volunteers.

Ever since the Government saw fit to introduce the closure of coastguard stations around the UK...

 volunteers from the NCI have manned dozens of disused lookouts around the English coastline...

like this one at Cape Cornwall...

and this one at Gwennap Head above Porthgwarra...

manned by a total of 30 volunteers like Michael...

and his trusty companion Oscar...

that used to be home to Lands End Radio station through which all shore calls via the 'big set' radio went - it closed in 2000...

this short video captures the sterling work and comforting, reassuring voice that was so familiar to fishermen and other seafarers off the Cornish coast - especially during the winter months.

Thursday 29 November 2018

MCA M notice on the compulsory wearing of PFDs - personal Flotation Devices.

The MCA has published a new set of COMPULSORY provisions for the wearing of PFDs (Personal Flotation Device) aboard fishing vessels. here is a summary of the provision contained in the M Notice.

 Where risks cannot be reduced to a safe level by other measures, personal protective equipment must be provided and used.  
 Statistics show that there is a significant risk of fishermen working on open decks falling overboard. 
 Following risk assessment, measures should be established to reduce the risk of fishermen falling overboard wherever practicable. MGN 571(F) gives guidance on preventing man overboard on fishing vessels.  
 MCA will expect to see a record of any risk assessment and measures put in place.  
 From the date of publication of this Notice, failure to ensure the provision and wearing of PFDs and/or fall restraint harnesses by all fishermen working where there is a risk of falling overboard will be considered by the MCA to be a breach of health and safety legislation.  
 The only exception to this is where the fishing vessel owner can demonstrate, through a documented risk assessment, that the risk of falling overboard has been eliminated by other measures. 

Thursday 14 July 2011

Falmouth Coastguard to stay in business - 24/7.

SAR services from RNAS Culdrose will continue to be co-ordinated by Falmouth Coastguard.

Round-the-clock coastguard cover in Cornwall has been saved after a Government U-turn.Ministers are expected to announce today that Falmouth coastguard station will operate 24-hours a day under revised plans. It was threatened with only being open during daylight.
However, the South Devon coastguard station that covers a vast sweep of the Westcountry coast is to be closed under the controversial plans.
Shutting the Brixham watch, which covers the coastline from Dodman Point in Cornwall to Topsham in Devon, means campaigners have failed to force a U-turn over the border.
Today's announcement follows a mass public outcry in the wake of modernisation proposals drawn up by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to shut half the UK's stations.
The Westcountry would have been left without 24-hour coastguard cover, leading to fears over the safety of a range of groups, from tourists to fishermen.
But Transport Secretary Philip Hammond will today announce "adapted" plans. He will say seven out of 18 stations in the UK are to close, effectively saving three stations that were originally earmarked for closure.
Brixham is one of those to go, the Western Morning News understands. The 11 stations to remain open, including Falmouth, will all operate 24 hours a day.
Coastguard agency staff and MPs feared lives were being put at risk because of a loss of local knowledge as a result of coastguards being sacked.
The new plans are set to go out for a further six-week consultation, but it will only be on the revisions – dashing remaining hopes Brixham gets an 11th hour reprieve.
Shipping Minister Mike Penning had previously insisted that the original proposals would be changed, but also stressed the status quo was not an option.
Commentators have felt that Brixham was always at greater risk than Falmouth because of Falmouth's expertise in international rescues.
But Brixham supporters claimed this was a misnomer as the Devon station takes over the multi-national operations when Falmouth is down.
But fears for Brixham's future were heightened when Mr Penning described the distance between the two as "ridiculously close" when justifying the need for closures. Campaigners have pointed out there are more road miles between other centres.
Mr Penning also revealed that Falmouth had proposed shutting its "twin" station Brixham in its response to the coastguard consultation.
Under the original proposals, which were commissioned five years ago under the Labour government, three stations would have operated around-the-clock. That would have meant the closest 24-hour station covering the Westcountry would have been in the Portsmouth and Southampton area.
Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, whose constituency is covered by the Brixham station, is among a number of MPs who have called on the Government to go back to the drawing board. Mrs Murray's husband Neil, a fisherman, died at sea in March in waters covered by the Devon station.
She has said the lives of more fishermen would be at risk with Brixham gone.

Article courtesy of the Cornishman.

Monday 11 July 2011

Coastguard cuts cut.

Gwennap Head was an early casualty in the last round of big cuts to the Coastguard servics back in the 1980s - many of these stations, like Gwennap Head at Land's End, are now manned by volunteers for the National Coastwatch Institutiion.

Plans to close coastguard stations around Britain will be scaled back by ministers this week after warnings that the cuts could put lives at risk - so goes this article from the Sunday Telegraph - congratulations to all those who campaigned tirelesly to cut the cuts - a big victory for commen sense, local Cornish MP Sheryll Murray must be pleased.