Fish farm work boat death prosecution
Pan Fish (Scotland)fined for failing to properly maintain the lifejackets used by the site staff and of overloading the aluminium work boat such that it capsized.
At Portree Sheriff Court yesterday Tuesday 25th May 2004, fish farm operators
Pan Fish (Scotland), formerly known as Lighthouse of Scotland Ltd., pleaded
guilty to charges of failing to properly maintain the lifejackets used by the site staff and of overloading the aluminium work boat such that it capsized. They were fined a total of £28,000.
On January 21st 2003 an employee of Pan Fish, Mr J Mcleod, was piloting an uncertified 6 metre aluminium boat from a storage barge to the fish
cages. It was loaded with 1000kilos of fish feed. As the boat rounded Ard An Torrain Point on the Island of Raasay, it capsized throwing Mr McLeod into the water. His life jacket failed to operate and Mr Mcleod drowned.
An investigation was undertaken by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and
the Health & Safety Executive. This investigation revealed that the trigger
mechanism on the lifejacket had operated successfully, but the gas cylinder had unscrewed a little and the trigger did not reach and pierce it.
Sheriff J Pollack said in his summing up that he noted the arguments made by Procurator Fiscal Mr McIver and those of the defence council. He stated that this court was not the place to put a value on a life.
It is anticipated that a Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held later in the year.
Captain Singh Grewal, Surveyor in Charge Glasgow Marine Office, said "This incident should serve as a reminder to all operators of workboats to ensure that their boats are operated safely and that safety equipment is properly maintained and used. Workboats should be correctly certified for use in their area of operation".
Note : The total fine was made up as follows :-
£8,000 for the lifejacket offence; and
£20,000 for the overloading offence.