One of the Falkland Islands leading fishing companies, Fortuna Limited has launched a shore-based safety training course for the crew of illex jiggers set to operate in the Islands in the illex squid season. Some 900 crew-members are expected to undergo the course, which is being held every day over a two week period.
A release from Fortuna Ltd., states that a training course has been developed over many months with the assistance of training providers approved by the Sea Fish Industry Authority, the non-departmental public body responsible for crew safety in the UK commercial fishing industry. Technical advisors with sea going experience in senior positions on jiggers have provided practical input.
The course, which focuses on occupational safety, addresses those hazards specific to working onboard a squid jigger in Falklands waters, in addition to general risks faced in most types of fishing operation.
The course will take place in Stanley each day over the next two weeks. Local stakeholders have been invited to attend and observe the course.
Some 800 jiggermen will be brought ashore to undergo the training, which is certainly the largest training event of its kind in the history of the Falkland Islands fishery.
The design process has involved an end-to-end analysis of the jigging operation, identifying dangerous jobs, ensuring that measures in place to prevent accidents are adequate, and perhaps most importantly developing effective means of encouraging men to abide by safe working practices that are in place for their protection and use Personal Protective Equipment that is available.
Classroom sizes are being carefully managed, within practical limitations. The style of teaching is conversive in nature, with jiggermen being encouraged to participate on a personal level and share their experiences. This is proving very effective and the level of engagement is high.
Keir Day, former Seafish Safety at Sea Leader currently in Stanley delivering the course commented that “there is a desire to learn that I don’t usually see in the UK”.
“These jiggermen are as good a group of seamen as I know, some vessels have room for improvement but the issues we see here are the same as everywhere, convenience and sometimes misplaced pride in looking tough getting in the way of safety, but if they go away with more awareness and acceptance then we have made a difference” he added.
Keir was responsible for inspecting the Seafish network of approved training providers delivering the crew safety courses that trawlermen working on UK and Falklands registered vessels must hold, a post he held for some 10 years.
A team of Seafish approved trainers and professional translators are being flown in to deliver the training. Learners are separated by nationality with each class led by a dedicated trainer and translator. The course will be translated into three different languages.
A series of animations have been created to dramatize recent incidents and are proving to be an effective means of communicating across language barriers.
“It’s no easy thing running a training course as ambitious as this in the Falklands” said Director James Wallace, “but it’s a pass that we and our partners Go-Rising are determined to clear and it’s a credit to the Taiwanese vessel owners and fishing masters that have understood why it needs to be done here in Stanley under the spotlight”.
The training course which will continue each year, runs parallel to a program of vessel safety surveys which began in 2018. A former Marine Coastguard Agency ship surveyor travelled to the port of
Kaohsiung to inspect vessels prior to departure for the Falkland Islands.
Finally, Fortuna would like to thank the Department of Natural Resources, Customs and Immigration, FIC Agency and all others involved for their support and helping make the course happen.