Range of initiatives planned by The Seafarers’ Charity and the NFFO

The final day of Maritime Safety Week 2023 saw the launch of a new partnership between The Seafarers’ Charity and the NFFO, which signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a range of industry initiatives aiming to improve fishing safety.

Tests being undertaken with the support of The Seafarer’s Charity into small vessel stability at the Wolfson Unit.

The new partnership will see both organisations play to their respective strengths. The Seafarers’ Charity will bring its collaborative approach, contacts and convening skills to the partnership, whilst the federation will bring its specialist skills and knowledge of the fishing industry – in particular the knowledge needed to build on the range of safety initiatives undertaken by the industry in recent years.

The formalisation of the partnership builds on The Seafarers’ Charity’s co-funding with the NFFO of its risk, safety and training lead officer Charles Blyth. This has been co-funded since May 2022, and The Seafarers’ Charity has agreed a further two-year funding commitment into 2025.

In addition to funding this key role, the two organisations have committed to collaborating on various initiatives and projects that will contribute to raising awareness and understanding of safety management practices.

Mike Cohen of the NFFO and The Seafarer’s Charity’s chief executive Deborah Layde signing the MoU after the charity’s AGM, which was held in the impressive surroundings of Waterman’s Hall in Central London.

Signing the MoU, NFFO chief executive Mike Cohen said: “The NFFO is helping members, skippers and crews to manage risk at sea on their vessels, to ensure their vessels are operated in the safest way possible and that crews are properly trained and receiving the best welfare provision.

“Joint initiatives, developed with support from The Seafarers’ Charity, provide us with additional resources to take forward new and innovative projects which will make a significant contribution to improving fishing safety for many more than just our members.”

Chief executive of The Seafarers’ Charity Deborah Layde said: “I am delighted that we are able to do even more to support improvements in safety and welfare for people working in UK fishing, and that these are industry-led initiatives.

“The MoU signed with the NFFO formalises a long-term working relationship and collaboration which is already providing much-needed help and guidance to many fishing vessel owners across the whole of the UK, and there will be more to come as the partnership continues over the next two years.”

Ongoing work supported by The Seafarers Charity, ahead of the formal signature of the MOU, has included working with Charles Blyth on a series of three short films, designed to be easily accessible for fishermen, explaining aspects of the new safety regulations, and how the industry can meet these requirements.

Charles Blyth said: “There have been many changes to regulations in fishing recently, and with these new short films, I try and describe them in layman’s terms. It sometimes seems you need to be a lawyer to be able to understand the regulations properly. It’s very technical, and has big ramifications for individual fishermen, which I want to try and help them understand.”

The three films: Dealing with Enclosed Spaces on your Fishing Vessel, Looking after your Lifting Gear, and Stability Basics are all available on The Seafarers’ Charity’s YouTube channel.

The charity has also funded experimental work at Southampton University’s Wolfson Unit, looking at the current stability requirements for small vessels. This work – part of the partnership’s aim of improving fishing safety by influencing international safety standards – will, it is hoped, increase insight into stability on both catamaran and single-hulled fishing vessels. More information will be made available once the results of the tests are known later in the year.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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