Fastenings failing ‘behind fatal crane collapse’ at Mull fish farm, report finds

Jamie Kerr died while working at a fish farm on Loch Spelve, Mull.  Picture: Ian Rutherford.
Jamie Kerr died while working at a fish farm on Loch Spelve, Mull. Picture: Ian Rutherford.
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A CRANE collapse which killed a 25-year-old boat skipper at a fish farm was caused by a series of factors, including fastenings failing, investigators have found.

Jamie Kerr, from Oban, Argyll and Bute, was killed while on the workboat Carol Anne at a fish farm on Mull in April 2015.

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch report published today said Inverlussa Marine Services worker Mr Kerr was supervising a 20-year-old deckhand in unloading the last of the nets at Balure, Loch Spelve, when the crane collapsed.

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.

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“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.

“On the ambulance service’s advice, given over the telephone, the crane was lifted off the skipper using the telehandler.

“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 Atlas 170 crane was not overloaded when it failed on April 30.

Investigators found factors contributing to the crane collapsing included that no installation guidance was 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 were weaker and fewer than required by the crane manufacturer’s installation specifications, and quality control at Atlas (UK) did not prevent this, the report states.

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.

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Investigators have issued several recommendations including that crane manufacturer German-based 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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