POLICE confirmed on Wednesday (yesterday) that the three sailors who died on the Vision II were Filipinos.
Their names will be released by police today (Thursday).
The boat, which was involved in last weeks lethal fire at Fraserburgh, has been handed back to its owners as investigators into the cause of the fire left the scene.
No cause has yet been determined or made public after the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) headed to the North East to investigate the cause of the blaze which killed three foreign crewmen.
The MAIB confirmed yesterday morning that they had left the scene and the Westward Fishing Company confirmed that they had been handed the boat back.
Fraserburgh Inspector John Esson told the 'Herald' that the boat had indeed been handed back to the owners and "a few lines of enquiry still being followed" through several agencies and the cause of the fire may not be known for some time yet.
Worryingly though a Union leader has told the 'Herald' that some Philippine crews are known to use gas implements for heat and to cook food when the ships are berthed and the boats generators are shut down.
Clerk to the Harbour Board at Fraserburgh George MacRae M.B.E. spoke to the 'Herald' about the tragic incident on Tuesday prior to the boat being handed back:
"The actual cause of the situation hasn't been made public yet. The police and investigators are still at the site and I certainly am not going to speculate as to what the cause is, but that will be established fairly soon I would imagine and who knows there could be an inquiry as well.
"Very little has actually been said by the police and fire authorities than what was actually said at the time. We are in the dark about it, but obviously the whole fish industry, the white fish sector and the Harbour Commissioners would certainly extend our sympathies to those who have lost their loved ones..
Mr MacRae confirmed that the Harbour has no responsibility for the state of boats in the Harbour and that the Harbour just provides safe berthing places for vessels and if a finger of blame was to be pointed by authorities regarding the incident it certainly would not be at the Harbour Board:
"The issue of the maintenance of a fishing vessel it is nothing to with the harbour, we provide the facilities for safe berthing and access to and from the vessels and provide support facilities; boat maintenance, fish markets and stuff like that. The control of the fishing vessel rests firmly with the skipper and the boats owners.
"As to the health and safety aspect, we don't know the cause so we don't know what lessons can be learnt.
"There is still no suggestion as to who will be liable, if anyone is liable."
He went on to emphasis how dangerous the fishing industry still is to work in:
"The fact is fishing vessels now are quite different to what they were 30, 40, 50 plus years ago with different methods of fishing and different methods of construction.
"Fishing is a dangerous occupation statistically, when at sea, it is 13 times more dangerous than traditional coal mining. We lose a fishing vessel around our coasts on average every two to three weeks over the course of the year, thankfully not always with a loss of life. We don't often have incidents in harbours around the coast but this is one which has regrettably happened. Nevertheless it is a matter for the skipper and the owners to address as and when the cause has been established and made public."
Owners of MB Vision II, the Westward Fishing Company, said that: "We are all still feeling a great sense of shock following the fire on Vision II and we are still trying to come to terms with its tragic consequences. We are continuing to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation and hope that the cause of the fire will be identified as soon as possible.
"In the meantime, our condolences remain with the families and friends of the men who have perished and our thoughts are with them at this terrible time."
The company also confirmed to the 'Herald' that all of their boats are regularly inspected by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
The fire has once again thrust the employment conditions of overseas workers on boats back into the limelight with the International Transport Workers' Federation, calling on First Minister Alex Salmond earlier this week to investigate the conditions Philippine workers were working in
Norrie McVicar, Coordinator for UK and Ireland for ITF , told the 'Herald':
"Our concern is the conditions, wages and immigration procedures regarding the workers being brought to Scotland.
"There was a big case in Ullapool recently regarding Indonesian workers who were being asked to work as much as 22 hours a day and paid as little as 50p per hour.
Mr McVicar also revealed: "Some Philippine crews are known to use gas implements for heat and to cook food when living on the ships when they are berthed and the boats generators are shut down.
"To be clear, this is not about the accommodation standards on boats. Almost all the boats would meet the approved criteria for that, we are calling for an investigation into the wages and working conditions for these workers."
Vision II had been berthed at Balaclava Quay when the fire was first discovered at around 1.45am last Friday morning and emergency services including Grampian Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service, Coastguard and Police were alerted and responded.
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Weather for Fraserburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west