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Monday, 29 January 2007

More on MAIB and dodgy dossiers ...

Back in July last year the MAIB published their annual report for 2005 which contained some alarmist statistics purporting to justify the introduction of alcohol limits for leisure boats. Hugh Robertson MP (con, Faversham and Mid Kent) asked the following written question:

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Government have any plans to introduce a maximum blood alcohol limit for (a) recreational mariners and (b) those in charge of a boat. [83515]

Dr. Ladyman: Following a consultation in 2004 and more recent evidence given to us, including two Marine Accident Investigation Branch recommendations, we are now working with interested parties to see what appropriate measures should be taken to implement the relevant provisions of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003.

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment the Government have made of the results of the 2004 consultation into a maximum blood alcohol limit for recreational mariners. [83516]

Dr. Ladyman: We are currently reassessing all the views in the light of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch recommendations delivered earlier this year and will make an announcement once that exercise is complete.

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment the Marine Accident Investigation Board has made of the number of people (a) killed and (b) injured in (i) recreational and (ii) non-recreational marine craft in each of the past five years; and in how many of these cases alcohol was identified as a contributory factor. [83517]

Dr. Ladyman: The Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2005 only place a requirement to report accidents involving recreational craft if they are being commercially operated. However, the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents may investigate accidents involving privately-owned craft if they are brought to his attention.

Details of all accidents reported to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch are contained on its database. Statistics for deaths and injuries for both recreational and non-recreational craft for the past five years are shown in the following table:

Recreational craft (non-commercial) All other vessels

Deaths Injuries Deaths Injuries

2001

3

2

23

651

2002

8

4

27

647

2003

12

10

22

673

2004

3

25

22

647

2005

24

35

22

551


The second table contains numbers of deaths and injuries where alcohol was positively identified as a contributory factor:


Recreational craft (non-commercial) All other vessels

Deaths Injuries Deaths Injuries

2001

2

2

12

2002

14

2003

1

1

18

2004

3

14

2005

5

3

5

17


Hmm. So over the entire 5 year period, an average of 1.6 deaths a year had alcohol as a contributory factor. That's about the same number of deaths as are caused by people accidently stabbing a table fork up their nose.

I'd love to see the RIA (Regulatory Impact Assessment) for this; a cost to the taxpayer of possibly several hundred millions a year to save perhaps a single life. The economics of madness. But then Stephen Ladyboy is a fully paid-up member of the Blair Fantasy Club.

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