• October 28, 2015


An extremely detailed response from Department of Economic Development Minister, Laurence Skelly MHK, to our query about deaths and injuries on Manx registered vessels.

We submitted the query following the publication of the latest fatalities report involving the vessel MV Sally Ann C.

The text of our query (from the CL facebook site) is here:


As stated the reply is very comprehensive and includes a detailed chart of statistics which gives a complete breakdown from 1984 (the inception of the register) to 2015.

The bald overall total of deaths is 159. However the picture is not as bleak as that statistic would indicate as of these 89 are said to be from ‘natural causes, suicide, suspected suicide or misadventure ashore’.

Of the 159 total 70 (approx 40%) are recorded as ‘shipboard accidents’.

The statistical breakdown gives the cause of accidental death and this is broken down into 12 categories. By far the largest number is ‘man overboard’ at 18. The next highest category is ‘enclosed space’ accidents at 10 (this was the situation on the Sally Ann C). The final high category number is ‘fall’ which total 8.

The statistics also show how the register has grown since 1984 and that obviously influences the incidence of accidents in recent years with ‘total deaths’ being close to or in double figures since 2004.

As indicated the League is grateful for the detailed information and will take up on the offer of a meeting contained at the conclusion of the Ministers letter.

The text of the Minister’s letter is set out below (the statistics table cannot be published with this release but is available on request):

“Bernard Veen

Thank you for your letter dated 9th October 2015 in which you have noted your concern over the recent report on the fatalities on the Sally Ann C.

I would like to assure you that the safety of seafarers on board Manx registered ships is of the highest priority. The Isle of Man Ship Registry operates a register which requires high standards and a high level of safety culture from the companies operating Manx ships. As the regulator, the Isle of Man Ship Registry ensures all international standards are upheld by inspections and audits on board and in the offices of the operating companies.

The report into the accident on board the Sally Ann C has generated a great deal of interest in the industry as accidents which are the result of enclosed space entries continue to be a very high priority for the international shipping industry to resolve. It is important that all accidents are fully investigated and the report and its findings issued to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and promulgated to the shipping world in a timely manner. Each Flag State must play its part and the Isle of Man is committed to ensuring that lessons are learned to prevent recurrence of such incidents. The Isle of Man is highly respected in this regard with thorough investigations and timely reports which are conducted and published in line with the IMO Casualty Investigation Code.

The maritime industry is a hazardous environment. Whilst there have been great strides in global standards for training and certification of seafarers and in the global implementation of safety management systems, statistics slow 2,000 seafarers die every year at sea on board the world’s 85,000 merchant ships. Many of these deaths will be from natural causes and not all as a result of accidents, as ships are living as well as working environments. On our own register, at any one time, there will be in the region of 9,500 seafarers on board Manx registered ships and yachts, working in some of the world’s most hazardous environments. As requested, I have enclosed statistics showing the cases of reported deaths on Isle of Man registered vessels from the register’s establishment as an international register in 1984 through to September 2015.

As Minister, I remain absolutely confident that the Department’s Ship Registry is run in a very professional manner and is a very effective regulator. One which has the safety of the seafarers on Manx ships at the core of its existence. The register continues to play its part in enhancing the safety of life at sea by working with its colleagues at IMO to develop new standards and regulations and works with the maritime industry to advise on safety matters.

If it helps, I would like to invite the Celtic League to visit the Ship Registry to discuss any issues you may have in a frank and open forum.

Lhiuish dy firrinagh
Hon Laurence Skelly MHK
Minister for Economic Development”

(Please note this letter is scanned every effort is made to avoid errors and any textual errors that do occur are the responsibility of the Celtic League)

Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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