Fishing Vessel Owner Jailed for Crew Fatalities
The Eshcol had arrived in Whitby in the early morning of the January 14, 2014 to discharge her catch of scallops. On board were a crew of three including the skipper Mark Arries and Edward "Eddie" Ide. Bowman-Davies collected the catch that evening and dropped off stores for the Eshcol and two other boats owned by him. Once done, Bowman-Davies headed home. The third crew man headed off to his girlfriend’s house for the night with the permission of skipper Arries. Arries and Ide spent the rest of the night on-board the Eshcol.
The following morning no movement was seen on the Eshcol. Crewmen on the other vessels nearby became concerned. Two of them broke into the wheelhouse/cabin of the Eshcol and discovered the bodies of Arries and Ide. The liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fired cooker was seen to be lit when they entered. The emergency services were called, and the two crewman were pronounced deceased at the scene. A post-mortem showed they died as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The Eshcol was not fitted with a carbon monoxide detector and the LPG Cooker was subsequently shown to be defective. It had not been serviced or examined by a GAS SAFE engineer.
The Eshcol was inspected by the MCA and detained with 34 deficiencies.
In passing sentence HHJ Bayliss QC said, "Those who employ others and whose actions create a risk of harm must take the consequences when harm results, such as here. The least possible sentence I can impose, based on the mitigating factors, is 15 months in prison."
He said that it was because the offences were so serious and that two men had died, he could impose a custodial sentence.
David Fenner, Fishing Vessel Policy Manager with the MCA, said it was strongly recommended that carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are installed in every enclosed space that contains a fired cooking or heating appliance and where an engine exhaust penetrates through the wheelhouse or crew space. Fired appliances apply to, but may not be limited to, appliances fired by LPG, diesel or paraffin.
"I would also like to thank North Yorkshire Police for their help and assistance in bring this prosecution forward."
Captain Jeremy Smart, Head of the MCA's Enforcement Unit, said, "The risks from carbon monoxide are well known and that is why specific safety measures have to be taken. Sadly, two people lost their lives in this case. We hope that this successful prosecution sends a strong message to the fishing community that unsafe practices will be taken seriously and action will be taken so more lives aren’t lost in the future."