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Fisherman's boat was unstable and overloaded

A report into the death of Cornish fisherman Ian Thomas in 2001 says the boat capsized because it was unstable and also because it was carrying twice the weight of fish envisaged by her designer.

Mr Thomas died in December 2001 after his boat heather Anne capsized in Gerrans Bay.

The report also found Mr Thomas would have had a greater chance of survival had he been wearing a lifejacket when the vessel capsized.

Key findings from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch:

  • Due to her length, Heather Anne was exempt from any stability requirements. Since build in 1971, modifications to the vessel had significantly increased her displacement, raised her centre of gravity and reduced her freeboard.
  • Heather Anne was carrying about 10.5 tonnes of fish and entrained sea water which was over twice the weight of catch envisaged by her designer.

  • The deckhand would have had a greater chance of survival had he been wearing a lifejacket when the vessel capsized.

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