The owner of a tug boat which sank in the River Clyde, killing three crew members, has been fined £1.7m
Svitzer Marine Ltd, owner of a tug boat which sank, has been fined £1.7m for the deaths of three crew members.
Stephen Humphreys, 33, Eric Blackley, 57, and Robert Cameron, 65, died when the Flying Phantom capsized in thick fog in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, in December 2007.
The marine company has pleaded guilty to health and safety failures.
Judge Lord Turnbull said: “In identifying the particular level of fine I consider appropriate in the present case I am not seeking to identify the level of the worth of the individuals who lost their lives.”
“Nor am I seeking to reflect in financial terms the measure of the loss suffered by their families.
“In the end of the day any sentence imposed by me will likely seem insignificant compared to the sentence which they have had imposed on them.”
The Flying Phantom had been towing a 77,000-ton cargo ship, Red Jasmine, when the capsize occurred.
Difficulties were experienced due to heavy fog on the River Clyde.
37-year-old crewman Brian Aitchison was rescued from the water after he escaped from the tug boat’s wheelhouse.
The bodies of the other three deceased crew members were later recovered, while the boat was raised in a salvage operation the following month.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch conducted an inquiry into the tragedy and concluded that the tug boat’s towing winch had not released quickly enough, causing it to capsize because of the vessel it was pulling.
The report also highlighted failings in procedure to ensure the tug boat operated safely in foggy weather.
Danish firm Svitzer Marine and Clydeport were prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Svitzer admitted “failing to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work” of the crew.
Meanwhile, Clydeport denies the charges against them and a hearing is due to take place in Edinburgh next month.
The Crown Office said no decision would be taken on holding a Fatal Accident Inquiry until criminal proceedings were concluded.
Thompsons Solicitors’ Andrew Henderson, which acted for the families of the victims, said: “Although the conclusion of criminal action against Switzer is welcome, it is extremely worrying that almost six years on from the tragic deaths of three men in the course of their employment there has been no fatal accident inquiry held into those deaths.”
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Image from http://www.clydesite.co.uk