The paper describes how the Icelandic fleet increased from 1980 to 2005, as well as the number of fishermen employed in the various sections of the fleet. All categories of the fleet have increased considerably in tonnage, while the number of fishermen has declined. At the same time the catch per man-year at sea has increased, rendering the Icelandic fisheries among the most efficient in the world in terms of catch and value per manpower. The number of fatalities in the Icelandic fisheries has declined steadily in this period. In absolute numbers these accidents are most common on decked vessels under 45m, but when weighed against man-years, fishermen on open boats are in greatest danger of losing their lives. The most common cause of fatalities is foundering of the vessel, which may cause multiple fatalities, then is man-over-board, followed by drowning in harbour and miscellaneous accidents. The reduction in the number of fatal accidents at sea may have several reasons. Mandatory safety and survival training of all fishermen, improved working conditions at sea, better telecommunications, constant VMS surveillance and a 24hr availability of airborne rescue teams have all helped to reduce fatalities in the Icelandic fishing fleet from 1980 until 2005.
BACKGROUND: Although commercial fishing has become established as the most hazardous occupation in Western countries, relatively little has been reported on mortality from disease among fishermen. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the causes of work-related mortality from disease in the UK fishing industry from 1948 to 2005, trends in mortality over time and how it varies according to the sector of the fishing industry, to investigate non-work related mortality among fishermen ashore, and to compare it with that in other populations. METHODS: Examination of paper death inquiry files, death registers and death returns, as well as GIS mapping for a defined population of 1.45 million fishermen-years at risk. RESULTS: From 1948 to 2005, there were a total of 449 work-related deaths from disease identified in the UK fishing industry, with a corresponding mortality rate of 30.9 per 100,000. The mortality rate increased from about 35 per 100,000 in the late 1940s to 60 in the early/mid 1970s but fell sharply to about 10 by the late 1970s. Most of the deaths were caused by ischaemic heart disease followed by other circulatory diseases, respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases. The highest mortality rates were identified for fishermen employed on board distant water trawlers, particularly those operating in Arctic waters. CONCLUSIONS: The study shows that fishermen in distant water trawlers, particularly in Arctic conditions, have the highest risks of mortality from disease. The high risks presumably reflect lifestyle risk factors as well as extremely hazardous and stressful working and sleeping conditions.
Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is the leading cause of mortality, disability and posting from a ship among seamen. As shown by analysis of case records of 124 seamen who died suddenly of myocardial infarction, IHD lethality on board the ship is much higher than on land. The greatest number of myocardial infarctions and IHD deaths occur on sailing month 3 and 4, within month 1 after returning home. Specific features of myocardial infarction in seamen are the following: absence of typical history, high incidence of painless forms and postmortem diagnosis, rare hospitalization, relationship with low exercise tolerance and inability to reach submaximal heart rate at bicycle exercise. Coronaroangiography performed after myocardial infarction detected stenosing atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries in 95% of cases.
To investigate the frequency, circumstances, and causes of occupational accidents aboard merchant ships in international trade, and to identify risk factors for the occurrence of occupational accidents as well as dangerous working situations where possible preventive measures may be initiated.
The study is a historical follow up on occupational accidents among crew aboard Danish merchant ships in the period 1993-7. Data were extracted from the Danish Maritime Authority and insurance data. Exact data on time at risk were available.
A total of 1993 accidents were identified during a total of 31 140 years at sea. Among these, 209 accidents resulted in permanent disability of 5% or more, and 27 were fatal. The mean risk of having an occupational accident was 6.4/100 years at sea and the risk of an accident causing a permanent disability of 5% or more was 0.67/100 years aboard. Relative risks for notified accidents and accidents causing permanent disability of 5% or more were calculated in a multivariate analysis including ship type, occupation, age, time on board, change of ship since last employment period, and nationality. Foreigners had a considerably lower recorded rate of accidents than Danish citizens. Age was a major risk factor for accidents causing permanent disability. Change of ship and the first period aboard a particular ship were identified as risk factors. Walking from one place to another aboard the ship caused serious accidents. The most serious accidents happened on deck.
It was possible to clearly identify work situations and specific risk factors for accidents aboard merchant ships. Most accidents happened while performing daily routine duties. Preventive measures should focus on workplace instructions for all important functions aboard and also on the prevention of accidents caused by walking around aboard the ship.
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From 1980 to 1993, the Danish Radio Medical Advice Service (RMAS) had 1136 contacts from overseas Danish merchant ships and 213 contacts from Danish territorial waters. The distribution of the diagnoses in the overseas contacts were: Diseases in the digestive and genitourinary system 30%, traumatic lesions 23%, infectious diseases 14%, diseases in the cardiovascular and respiratory system 9%. The only trend over the years was a significant (p = 0.01) decrease in psychiatric diagnoses. Evacuation was recommended in 53% and medicine was prescribed in 61% of the contacts. The medical speciality for doctors participating in RMAS should be general surgery or orthopaedic surgery but access to advice from all other medical specialities should be available. Experience as a naval medical officers would be beneficial. The education of the officers on the ships should include intravenous infusion. The communication should be by telephone and television would be an advantage.
Comment In: Ugeskr Laeger. 1996 Nov 18;158(47):6784-58992702
Demersal rockfish are the only fish species that have been found dead in significant numbers after major oil spills, but the link between oil exposure and effect has not been well established. After the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, several species of rockfish (Sebastes spp.) from oiled and reference sites were analyzed for hydrocarbon metabolites in bile (1989-1991) and for microscopic lesions (1990 and 1991). Biliary hydrocarbons consistent with exposure to Exxon Valdez oil were elevated in 1989, but not in 1990 or 1991. Significant microscopic findings included pigmented macrophage aggregates and hepatic megalocytosis, fibrosis, and lipid accumulation. Site differences in microscopic findings were significant with respect to previous oil exposure in 1991 (P=0.038), but not in 1990. However, differences in microscopic findings were highly significant with respect to age and species in both years (P
To investigate the distribution of blood hemoglobin levels in healthy blood donors and elite athletes, a retrospective cohort study from 2001 to 2005 of candidate blood donors and elite rowers in Denmark was performed. Eighty-five thousand eight hundred and forty-six blood donors were identified (36 962 males), and 3.9% of the males had a blood hemoglobin above 10.5 mM, equalling a hematocrit of 51% and, 1.6% of the females had hemoglobin above 9.7 mM, corresponding to a hematocrit above 47%. One thousand four hundred and six rowers (1116 males) were investigated and 10.4% of the males and 8.3% of the females demonstrated values above the recommended limit for athletic competition. Thus, the prevalence of a high hemoglobin value was greater in the rowers, of both gender, than in the candidate blood donors (P
This study investigated mortality trends and risk factors for death for cattle exported live from Australia by sea.
Mortality data for all voyages from Australia to all destinations between 1995 and 2012 were analysed retrospectively. Daily mortality trends were assessed for 20 long-haul voyages from Australia to the Middle East and to the Russian Federation between 2010 and 2012.
The overall voyage mortality percentage was 0.17% across the 13 million cattle exported on 6447 voyages. Mortality rates decreased significantly after 2000 and stabilised at low levels from 2003. The mortality rate for voyages to the Middle East and north Africa (0.44%) was significantly higher than for voyages to south-east Europe (0.28%), north-east Asia (0.12%) and south-east Asia (0.09%). Cattle exported from ports in southern Australia carried a higher mortality risk than those exported from northern ports for both long- and short-haul voyages. The daily mortality rate on long-haul voyages peaked at 3-4 weeks post-departure, although there was a smaller peak at 1-2 weeks.
The marked reduction in mortality rate since 2000 is related to a number of factors, including industry initiatives, government legislation and market demand, that have resulted in changes to both the selection of cattle for export and the management of cattle prior to and during voyages. Routine collection of animal performance data, combined with NLIS records and use of methods described here, have the potential to contribute to more effective management of mortality risks across the export chain.
This retrospective study analyzed records of boating or other watercraft-related events in Alaska from 1999-2004, where at least one drowning occurred, to identify factors associated with survivors of these same events.
Records of recreational boating events involving at least one fatality were obtained through the U.S. Coast Guard. Group rescue responses and rescue assistance responses by others outside the parties were categorized and analyzed. We conducted t tests and odds ratios to analyze inter-group differences.
There were 32 immersion events involving 36 fatalities (F-group members) and 72 immersed survivors (S-group.) Analysis of behaviors during and after immersion events showed that two-thirds of the S-group avoided submersion. Most survivors (59%) demonstrated effective exit strategies. Rescue attempts by members of a traveling party resulted in the greatest number of survivors, followed by self rescue attempts.
This study helps build a case for the need for more detailed surveillance systems to identify factors that contribute to submersion avoidance. This study also points out the need for enforcement, education, and engineering controls to help improve survival of cold water immersions.