A recent tragedy led to the death of a commercial diver in Portland Harbor. Police divers were able to recover the body of Dennis McGrath, 56 years of age last Wednesday. The diver was contracted to remove tangled ropes from the propeller of the Jamie and Ashley vessel. Further investigations revealed that the engine of the ship was running while McGrath was working on the tangled rope removal which could have caused the incident. However, autopsy reports were not concluded yet in order to determine if natural causes are also responsible for the diver’s death.
During the recovery, police divers found Mcgrath’s body was found near the propeller and the shaft. It is unknown if the personnel on board the ship knew there was a diver working underwater when the propeller was started.
The commercial divers association stated that diving industry safety standards were not observed during the operation that could have resulted to the mishap. According to the Association of Diving Contractors International, vessel propeller procedures should be handled by no less than three people. OSHA recommends that the three-man dive team should consist of a dive supervisor, primary and secondary diver.
Owners of fishing vessels prefer to employ an independent contractor because hiring from a commercial diving company would cost more. This practice leads to greater risks of diving accidents. As a matter of fact, survey shows that inland and close to shore commercial diving jobs are more prone to accidents compared to offshore diving in oil rigs.
Police investigations will carry on until they reach a concrete conclusion regarding McGrath’s case.