Glasgow & West Scotland

Crane collapse death of boat skipper 'avoidable', investigators find

The Carol Anne Image copyright TheTurfBurner
Image caption The Carol Anne is owned by Inverlussa Marine Services

An investigation into the death of a workboat skipper at a fish farm on Mull has found the crane collapse which killed him could have been avoided.

Jamie Kerr, 25, died on the vessel, Carol Anne, at Balure in April 2015.

Investigators said the death of Mr Kerr, from Oban, could have been avoided if the crane had been more securely attached to the vessel's deck.

They found the bolts, nuts and washers used to secure it were weaker and fewer than required.

Mr Kerr was working for Inverlussa Marine Services when the accident happened on 30 April last year.

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report published on Thursday said he was supervising a 20-year-old deckhand in unloading the last of the nets at the fish farm when the crane collapsed .

'Loud bang'

The report states: "Suddenly, there was a loud bang and the crane toppled towards the skipper and the deckhand.

"The deckhand ran aft towards the wheelhouse and the skipper ran forward. As the crane fell, it swivelled towards the slipway. Its boom struck the skipper and pinned him to the bow ramp.

"The deckhand immediately shouted for help and ran to the skipper. One of the shore staff quickly boarded Carol Anne and assisted the deckhand to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Another member of staff telephoned the emergency services."

The reported states that on the advice of the ambulance service, over the telephone, the crane was lifted off the skipper using the telehandler.

The report goes on: "Shortly afterwards, paramedics in a fast-response car and an air ambulance arrived. Efforts to resuscitate the skipper continued but he could not be revived. He was declared deceased at the scene."

The MAIB found that the Atlas 170 crane was not overloaded when it failed.

'No installation guidance'

Investigators found factors contributing to the crane collapsing included no installation guidance being provided with the crane, which was installed six-and-half weeks before the accident, as none was required by law.

The report states: "Had installation information been given, the crane's mounting would have been significantly more secure and its collapse would have been avoided."

Other factors which contributed to the collapse were the bolts, nuts and washers supplied by Atlas (UK) - to secure the crane to the boat's deck - being weaker and fewer than required by the crane manufacturer's installation specifications, and quality control at Atlas (UK) did not prevent this.

The examination and testing of the crane by an an Atlas (UK) service engineer, a week-and-a-half after it was fitted, failed to identify the inadequacy of the crane's mounting arrangement.

Investigators have issued several recommendations, including that German-based crane manufacturer Atlas Maschinen GmbH ensures installation information and guidance is provided with all cranes regardless of whether they are intended for use inside or outside the European Community.

Other recommendations, including that Atlas (UK) ensures fastenings on the same type of crane throughout the UK meet manufacturer's guidelines, have been carried out.

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