SIA speaks out about dive boat deaths

Wednesday, 25 July, 2018

SIA speaks out about dive boat deaths

The Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) has responded to a 60 Minutes program that paid tribute to a dive boat crew who lost their lives at sea last year.

When the Dianne capsized in late 2017, six of the seven crew members onboard died. Ruben McDornan was the sole survivor of the tragedy.

“First and foremost our thoughts are with Ruben McDornan and the family and friends of Adam Hoffman, Ben Leahy, Adam Bidner, Zac Feeney, Chris Sammut and Eli Tonks — the crew of the Dianne,” said SIA CEO Jane Lovell.

“Safety is one of SIA’s, and the entire commercial fishing industry’s, top priorities. Our vision is for no more tragedies like this in the future. No matter the industry, everyone deserves to be safe at work and every family deserves their loved ones to come home unharmed.

“Sadly, the tragedy of the Dianne is not an isolated incident and commercial fishing remains one of Australia’s most dangerous jobs. There is a six times greater chance of death among fishers than any other profession, and commercial fishers have twice the level of psychological stress of the rest of the community.

“Our industry is working to improve safety. For example, SIA supports float-free EPIRBs. We also support the SeSAFE initiative, launched earlier this year. This project aims to raise awareness and improve safety in the fishing and aquaculture industry across the industry through simple training modules delivering essential safety training. This project is a great example of industry and the federal government working together to address this critical issue. These sorts of initiatives are vital to keeping our fishers safe at sea.

“In addition, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) is working with industry, community, regulatory and research partners to achieve a 50% reduction of marine commercial fishing deaths in five years, a 50% reduction of marine commercial safety incidents in five years and see a positive cultural change in behaviours and attitudes towards safety and mental health throughout the industry.

“SIA welcomes all government and/or industry support to increase the safety of Australia’s commercial fishers. We will continue to promote discussion and understanding of the issues associated with safety in the workplace, as well as advocating for practical ways to make our workplace safer.”

Image credit: © Ingelhart

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