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Diving company fined after worker was stranded at sea

An Orkney scallop diving company has been fined for failing to ensure the safety of its workers after a diver was lost at sea for eleven hours.

Orkney Dived Scallops did not plan, manage or conduct a dive from the Fair Morn vessel on 3 May 2017 safely. The company failed to provide necessary equipment to its crew, including personal location beacons or a suitable lifeline. 

When a crew member became separated from the boat, rescue crews, including two helicopters and four commercial vessels, could not locate him.

He was picked up eleven hours later, more than 14 miles from where he had started his dive, by a Russian sail ship.

Orkney Dived Scallops also did not accurately record the dive and did not ensure all divers had the appropriate medical certificates.In another incident on 7 March 2017 the company failed to have enough qualified crew to carry out a dive safely on the vessel Patsy B.

They also did not ensure the health and safety of a 17-year-old crew member during this dive.

The company pled guilty to three charges at Kirkwall Sheriff Court last month. Today it was fined £15,000.

Head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Health and Safety Investigation Unit Alistair Duncan said:

“By failing to ensure their vessels were crewed by properly qualified divers, and by not providing appropriate safety equipment, Orkney Dived Scallops put their employees at unacceptable risk.

“This resulted in a prolonged ordeal for one crew member, who was stranded at sea for eleven hours.

“This prosecution should serve as a reminder to other fishing companies of their responsibilities to their workers.”