Gas warning after two found dead

First published in News

BOAT owners are being warned of the lethal implications of not carrying a carbon monoxide alarm on board, after two men were found dead in their bunks.

A 26-year-old skipper and 21-year-old crewman were found dead on board the scallop-dredger Eshcol near Whitby, North Yorkshire, on January 15.

The boat, which was registered in Milford Haven, had been taken out overnight by the two men.

When they were not seen as expected the next day, fishermen moored nearby went on board and found the vessel’s butane gas cooker lit, and the wheelhouse full of fumes.

Initial findings by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) indicate the men were poisoned by carbon monoxide.

It is thought that, before going to bed, the men lit the gas cooker in order to warm both the wheelhouse and the adjacent sleeping area. The Eshcol was not fitted with a carbon monoxide alarm.

In a statement, MAIB said: “Gas cookers are designed for cooking, not domestic heating.”

It added that, in a poorly ventilated artea, carbon monoxide can “quickly build up to lethal levels”, and with no smell, taste or colour, is extremely difficult to detect.

“Carbon monoxide alarms are not expensive and should be fitted,” it added.

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