NWSF News & Updates June ’13

HRH The Duke of Cambrige, calls for school swimming to be accessible for all children
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge and patron of the English Schools Swimming Association, has recorded a short video calling for school swimming to be accessible for all children at all primary schools.
The video has been released following the largest ever investigation into school swimming by the ASA that revealed more than half of children aged 7-11 years cannot swim 25 metres unaided. This equates to 1.1 million children that are unable to be safe in and around water

“The ASA has a belief – a vision, which I share – that every child has the right to learn to swim” – His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge.
In the video he goes onto say: “Swimming is unique – it is the only sport that can save lives – which is why I’m so keen for school swimming to be accessible for all children at all primary schools. The ability to swim changes lives – it brings huge joy and it can keep us fit and healthy. But above all, it can keep us safe, which is why I’m pleased to lend my support to this campaign.”

The ASA, for their report entitled “Learning the Lesson – the future of school swimming”, surveyed 3,501 schools on how many of their children have attained Key Stage 2 swimming requirements. It found that half of children aged seven to eleven cannot swim the length of a typical swimming pool (25 metres) unaided, despite swimming being a compulsory element of the national curriculum.

David Sparkes, Chief Executive of the ASA said “The ASA’s vision is that that every child should have the right and opportunity to learn to swim to help achieve a fitter, healthier and perhaps above all a safer generation of young people. I am delighted that His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge supports this vision and has provided support to our campaign.
“I am in no doubt that this support will help drive awareness around the importance of swimming, a life saving skill, being accessible to every child in primary school.”
Download a copy of the ASA Learning the Lesson: The Future of School Swimming 2013 Census: 2013 School Swimming Census
This report is about a belief – a vision – that every child has the right and opportunity to learn to swim to help achieve a fitter, healthier and perhaps above all a safer generation of young people. It is about mapping – on an unprecedented scale – the reality of school swimming in 2013 and using that insight to learn lessons and help to safeguard its future.
Read the full article: http://www.swimming.org/asa/news/school-swimming/hrh-the-duke-of-cambridge-records-video-message-outlining-importance-of-tea/17289/
Watch the full video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs7kBpGm8GM&feature=youtu.be

Fishing vessel firm showed “blatant disregard for safety”
A fishing vessel company and its two directors have been ordered to pay nearly £150,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to several breaches of maritime safety regulations. TN Trawlers Ltd and directors, Thomas Iain Nicholson and Christopher John Nicholson, were prosecuted after a number of defects were found on vessels owned by the firm.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspected the Olivia Jean in the port of Shoreham in November 2009 and detained the vessel due to a number of defects, including an out of date Intermediate Survey and Radio Survey. In addition, no crew qualifications or safety training details were available. After being released, the vessel travelled to the Netherlands for a refit and survey but in January 2010, it was again inspected by the MCA and further defects were identified, including unauthorised additions and modifications to the vessel. According to the MCA, there were also concerns about the condition of other parts of the vessel where maintenance was described as “very poor”.

An investigation by the MCA Enforcement Unit was launched, which highlighted other problems, including the vessel carrying more deck cargo than permitted in its stability information. In November 2009 the Philomena and Georgelou N were observed by the Channel Navigation Information Service failing to cross the south west lane of the Dover Straits Traffic Separation Scheme at right angles, contrary to regulations designed to avoid collisions. The Philomena was later inspected by the MCA and 27 defects were discovered leading to the vessel being detained.

The Georgelou N was inspected after becoming grounded in the River Mersey following mechanical failure in April 2011. The MCA identified problems with crew certification and numbers onboard being more than permitted by the amount of safety equipment. A further inspection in July 2011 highlighted problems with crew certification, safety training and the Intermediate Survey for the vessels safety certificate was overdue. The vessel Tobrach N was also detained after the MCA found that it had been to sea despite its safety certificate having expired two months previously. The company and directors were ordered to pay a total of £147,465 in fines and costs. His Honour Judge Ralls QC said: “The numbers of injuries and deaths at sea are concerning”.

The likelihood of death is greater than in the agricultural or construction industry. Fishing vessels operate in a harsh and uncompromising environment. Great care needs to be taken in that vessels are in a safe condition at all times.
“It is the owner’s responsibility to those that they employ.” Captain Jeremy Smart, Head of Enforcement for the MCA, said: “TN Trawlers and its directors failed to heed previous warnings and advice from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). The standard of care was far below what is expected, and the failings could have led to loss of life or serious injury. “This blatant disregard for safety standards is one of the worst that the MCA has come across in past years and we are pleased that this view has been supported by the sentence of the court. “The fishing industry is well known for its high levels of risk and dangers. Accordingly proper attention to health and safety matters is of the very highest importance in the industry and a few poorly managed vessels can give the industry a bad name. “We will not tolerate this behaviour where financial gain seems to be more important than the value of human life.”
Taken from: The RoSPA Occupational Safety & Health journal.

Fishing safety resource
A new website offering information to fishermen on the location of subsea cables and renewable energy structures has been launched.

The Kingfisher Information Service – Offshore Renewable and Cable Awareness project (KIS-ORCA) is a joint initiative between Subsea Cables UK and Renewable UK and is being managed by the Kingfisher Information Service of the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish), which is a non-departmental public body whose mission is to support the seafood industry to work for a sustainable, profitable future. The KIS-ORCA website aims to offer free, accurate, up-to-date information to fishermen on the location of cables and renewable structures such as wind farms. As well as being available online, the positional information will also be supplied to fishermen on CD in a format compatible with their on-board fishing plotter systems by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations.

In addition to an interactive map, the website includes information on subsea cables, renewable energy, links to operators and safety advice on reducing the risks of fishing near cables and renewable energy structures, with emergency contact numbers. A range of awareness charts are also available to download. Matt Frow, manager of Kingfisher, said: “We recognise the concerns of the fishing industry around expanding offshore operations. We believe http://www.kis-orca.eu and the associated charts and plotter data, will provide fishermen with essential information to remain safe whilst undertaking their fishing activities. We will continue to work closely with all offshore industries to develop and improve the information that we provide to the fishing industry.”
Access the website at: http://www.kis-orca.eu.

Cross-party group calls for action to tackle school swimming
A cross-party group of MPs and peers is calling for the Government to tackle the concerning numbers of children unable to swim. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Sport, chaired by Gerry Sutcliffe MP (and supported by umbrella body the Sport and Recreation Alliance), met in Parliament today to highlight the issue.
Group members including Baroness Grey-Thompson, Ian Austin MP, Andrew Bingham MP and Charlotte Leslie MP were present to show their support. It was an opportunity for David Sparkes, chief executive of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), to present the findings of its biggest ever investigation into school swimming. Figures show that more than half (51%) of children aged 7 to 11 years cannot swim 25 metres unaided, despite the fact that swimming is a national curriculum requirement. Almost 45% of schools stated that the biggest barrier to delivering better quality school swimming was budget constraints. Where schools are achieving high attainment rates amongst their pupils it is attributed to better pupil to teacher ratios, longer lesson times and a higher number of lessons offered.
David Sparkes, chief executive of the ASA said: “Many young children engage in organised sport for the first time at school – and this is also when many will make their first visit to a swimming pool. Without school swimming we know that many children would not have the opportunity to learn this life-saving skill, or take part in one of the easiest and enjoyable forms of physical activity for young people. I welcomed the opportunity to our present our findings to the All Parliamentary Group for Sport today, as well as discuss how some of the insight can help safeguard its future. The ASA is keen to work with Government to ensure this vital national curriculum subject is delivered to a high standard”.

Andy Reed, chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: “Being able to swim is a basic skill like running, catching and jumping – one of the core building blocks for a lifetime of activity. “If half of our seven- to 11-year-olds can’t swim, they are going to be cut off from a whole range of other activities from sailing, canoeing and rowing to water skiing, scuba diving and surfing. We need to start changing our approach to swimming and we welcome the political will we’ve seen today to try and put this into action.”

In response to the findings, APPG for Sport member Charlotte Leslie MP has tabled an early day motion, rallying MPs and Peers to sign up and get behind the cause. The motion is calling for closer OFSTED monitoring to ensure that primary schools provide more evidence and show greater commitment to their swimming programmes. The opportunity for the recently announced £150 million of ring-fenced spending for primary school sport to be used to improve these attainment levels will also be emphasised.

Charlotte Leslie MP said: “As a youngster I spent hours ploughing up and down the pool in my bid to become an Olympic swimmer. Although I never made it to the Olympics, swimming has played a key role in making me who I am.
“For many young people schools will offer the first opportunity to learn to swim, and it’s vital that Head Teachers get the support and information they need to deliver this important life skill.”
Read the: Early Day Motion #160

News and Updates May ’13

Fisherman Launch new film titled – Lifejacket: A Fisherman’s Friend
Two Bridlington fishermen have made a short film to encourage their fellow fishermen to wear lifejackets whilst at sea. The two minute film, entitled "Lifejacket: a fisherman's friend" is available at
The decision to make the film came after a panel of experts concluded that 26 fishermen could still be alive today had they been wearing a lifejacket when they were involved in an incident at sea (2007-11 figures). The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), were so alarmed by the new statistic that they put the idea of a short film forward to fishermen Dylan Silverwood and Christopher Stewart. They then made the film, with some help from FISG members.
"I wouldn't like to go to sea without a lifejacket", says salmon fisherman Dylan Silverwood. "When you hit the water, you start gasping like a fish, so unless you've got your lifejacket on, you could be in real difficulties. If you're a fisherman, please watch our little film and consider buying a lifejacket and using it whenever you set to sea. It really is quite easy to wear one – a lifejacket isn't heavy or cumbersome – and it could save your life."
This is the first in a series of films that fishermen will be making about buoyancy wear for different types of fishing.

Southwold Pier-to-Pub Swim: Dozens rescued from the sea
Dozens of people taking part in a charity sea swim off Suffolk had to be rescued after getting into difficulty.
More than 130 swimmers in Southwold had problems, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed. Four RNLI lifeboats and a rescue helicopter were involved from about 13:00 BST, after initial reports that up to 90 people were missing.
Two people were taken to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston with suspected hypothermia, the MCA spokeswoman added. The organisers of the race have not yet commented on the rescue operation.
The MCA spokeswoman said it was unclear how the swimmers got into trouble as weather conditions were fine, but the water was “very cold”. Some swimmers were rescued by lifeboat while a number of people swam to the shore themselves, she said.
Eyewitnesses spoke of exhausted swimmers coming out of the sea and being wrapped in towels, while a lifeboat hut close to the pier was turned into a makeshift emergency centre.
Organised by Active Outdoor Sport, the swim started north of the pier and was due to finish a mile down the coast. Read the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22674418

Scrapping of HSE offshore division will undermine safety, survey finds
A survey released today of 5000 North Sea oil and gas workers has found that 75% believe the Governments decision to scrap the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division will undermine offshore safety.
The survey, released by OilandGasPeople.com, also found 62% were worried that the scrapping of the unit would lead to another Piper Alpha disaster. The oil and gas workers questioned the timing of the decision to close the division two months before the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha Disaster. The setting up of the dedicated HSE offshore division was a key recommendation of Lord Cullen’s report into ways to prevent another disaster taking place. The decision also comes at a time when oil and gas workers are feeling more at risk. 72% believe that it is the worst possible time to close the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division, given recent concerns over ageing platforms and closures of platforms due to safety issues, such as the recent leak at the Cormorant Alpha platform.

“While there is no doubt that safety on North Sea oil and gas rigs has improved immeasurable since Lord Cullen’s report into the Piper Alpha disaster, our survey clearly shows that rig workers are concerned by the timing of the decision to cut one of Lord Cullen’s key recommendations, in the year of the 25thanniversary of the disaster itself,” said Kevin Forbes, CEO of Oilandgaspeople.com.

“What’s more, the decision comes at a time when workers are feeling greater concern because of ageing platforms and recent leaks, such as on the Cormorant Alpha platform. It isn’t surprisingly that the combination of the cutting of the HSE dedicated offshore division and ageing platforms has left many offshore workers feeling more at risk,” he said.
Read the full story: http://www.oilandgaspeople.com/news/717/scrapping-of-hse-offshore-division-will-undermine-safety-survey-finds/

Management of fishing quotas to be devolved

All four nations within the UK will be given greater power to manage their own fishing quotas following an agreement that has just been reached, Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon announced today. Under the agreement, the UK, Scottish and Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive will each be allocated shares, agreed annually, of UK fish quotas for distribution to their fleets. These will be based on the number of boats in each area and the quota they already receive. However, there will be no permanent split of UK quota; fishing vessels will be free to move their operations to other parts of the UK. The new arrangements will replace the present system where the UK Government allocates quota directly to fishermen and to fish producer organisations that manage quotas. This will allow each country to adapt quota allocations to best suit fleets in different parts of the UK. Arrangements for the licensing and administration of fishing vessels will also be clearer as a result of the agreement, and arrangements for the management of the UK’s fishing effort (“days at sea”) under the EU’s Cod Recovery Plan will be formalised.

Richard Benyon, UK Fisheries Minister, said: “By giving each nation greater control of quotas we will all be able to be more flexible on how quota is allocated to individual boats. This will enable the UK to move quota around to where it is needed and as a result we hope to see a reduction in discards. “This agreement will also make it easier to manage fisheries across the UK and is a significant step forward for the fishing industry”. Read more on the DeFRA website…

Fisherman plucked from liferaft after boat sinks

A Plymouth fisherman was rescued from his liferaft by lifeboat after his nine-metre fishing vessel, Arandora Star, started taking water, and sank whilst in Bigbury Bay. Brixham Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting that they had seen a parachute flare over the bay and that he could see the vessel in difficulty. The coastguard requested the launch of Plymouth RNLI lifeboat and scrambled a rescue helicopter. The pleasure vessel Itinerant Child also saw the flare and went to the aid of the fisherman. The dive vessel outcast responded to a mayday relay message and also went to the scene. Once the lifeboat arrived on scene it was able to rescue the man from his liferaft and take him to shore. He was unharmed although shocked by his ordeal. Matt Thornhill, Brixham Coastguard Watch Officer says:
The fisherman’s vessel sank very quickly, but he was already sensibly wearing a lifejacket and immersion suit, so was able to get into his liferaft and await rescue. He had tried to use his vhf radio to call for help, but unfortunately the batteries were wet so he fired flares to attract attention. Read more on the MCA website…

Fishing vessel skipper pleads guilty of failure to keep a proper lookout

On 12th January 2011 the fishing vessel Silver Chord II, collided with and sank the fishing vessel Saphire. The Silver Chord II was heading home to Stornoway after a day trawling for prawns in the North Minch. The skipper Murdo MacDonald left his wheelhouse for a short time to assist his crew in sorting the catch. Roderick McLeod, skipper of the Saphire was operating his fishing vessel single handed, which was stopped in the water whilst he hauled his net. The Silver Chord II crashed into the port side of the Sapphire. The water poured in so quickly that the vessel sank within minutes. Mr McLeod was able to jump safely onto the Silver Chord II. Our investigation revealed there was no lookout on either vessel at the time of the collision. At the Sheriff Court in Stornoway on 29th February 2012, Mr McDonald pleaded guilty to failing to keep a proper lookout. Mr McDonald was fined a total of £1000.
The MCA is very concerned that operators of large fishing vessels such as the Saphire and Silver Cloud II are not maintaining a lookout whilst at sea. Keeping a lookout at all times is mandatory for seafarers on all vessels. This incident once again reminds all fishermen of the need to ensure that the skippers primary responsibility is the safety of his crew and vessel. Read the report on the MCA website… 

UK secures victory in EU fisheries negotiations

The UK Government has today secured a victory for the fishing industry by stopping a massive cut in the number of days that fishermen are allowed to spend at sea. UK fishermen were facing devastating reductions to the amount of time they could spend at sea catching their quota as part of the Cod Recovery Plan. The threatened reductions not only put in jeopardy the livelihoods of UK fishermen but would have also led to increased discards.

However, following three weeks of protracted discussions culminating in two days of intense negotiations, the Government successfully convinced the EU Commission that the UK approach to conservation was the right way forward. Read more on the DeFRA website…