Lifejackets issue can’t be ignored
The last thing anyone wants to do is spoil the holidays of hundreds of holidaymakers moving between the Western Isles this weekend, but ferry operator CalMac was right to address issues surrounding the use of lifejackets.
Days ago, marine accident investigators highlighted shocking concerns about potential flaws in lifejackets worn by three crew who died when a fishing boat sank near Barra.
Their bodies were found face down when the jackets were supposed to turn them over in the water to help keep them alive.
An urgent review was demanded to pinpoint potential flaws in the jackets which might pose a threat to others. They are believed to be widely used elsewhere.
CalMac confirmed yesterday that the same lifejackets - Cosalt Premier - were supplied for passengers in 33 ferries. The firm was quick to reassure passengers that it was carrying out its own safety review to decide if its current procedures were adequate.
Direct comparisons or assumptions about health and safety issues aboard the Louisa, which foundered and sank, and a CalMac ferry are probably unwise. There were tragic and specific complications leading up to the tragedy, but underlying concern over the lifejackets is in the interest of all sea-goers, irrespective of what size of boat is being used.
Safety at sea is paramount and disturbing questions about the Cosalt Premier must be resolved for everyone’s peace of mind, including the bereaved families, who are also seeking answers.