Fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimate that 7% of all fatalities at work occur in the fishing industry, even though it accounts for less than 1% of the worldwide workforce.

There were approximately 7,460 UK-registered fishing vessels in 1999; 370 accidents and incidents involving these vessels were reported during that year. Machinery damage was responsible for 63% of the accidents [1]. Cumulative data from 1994 to 1999 on UK-registered fishing vessels revealed that machinery damage was found to be the most common cause of accidents on fishing vessels, contributing about 64% of all accidents. This can be attributed to several factors including poorly maintained equipment, out-of-date equipment, incorrect operation, equipment age and lack of automation [1]. Although most machinery failures do not threaten the vessel or the lives of the crew, in combination with other factors such as bad weather or strong currents, the consequences may be disastrous.

Maintenance of the vessel includes surveys and repairs in dry-dock undertaken by ship yard workers and contractors, and minor and routine repairs undertaken by the ship’s crew at sea or in wet dock. Major maintenance operations are normally performed when the catch is unloaded, or in the off-season when the vessel is in port, and may include, for example, washing out the cold storage hold, washing the vessel, unloading old equipment, greasing the equipment, repairing any damage noticed while fishing, and tune-ups. Minor routine maintenance operations may be performed in the port by the fishermen (particularly in small fishing vessels). Specialised carpenter, mechanic, hydraulic, electronic and electricity operations are normally performed by individual technicians, maintenance companies, suppliers or dealers. Full shaft line repairs and propeller works may be performed by specialised companies. Dry-dock operations may include hull works (including hull plate replacement), high-pressure washing, water blasting, shot-blasting and painting services. Onboard emergency repairs are performed at sea by the fishermen or by technicians (particularly in large vessels).

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Alessandro Pratelli

Perito aeronautico, calsse '72. Lavora come redattore tecnico dal 1995 poi fonda AP Publishing. Appassionato di Direttive e norme tecniche. La frase che preferisce? "Se non alzi mai gli occhi, ti sembrerà di essere nel punto più in alto".