Port operator fined following deaths of tug crew

Clydeport Operations Ltd, owned by Peel Ports, have been fined £650,000 for health and safety breaches after the deaths of three tug crewmen. Tug operator Switzer was also fined £1.7m.

In December 2007 the Flying Phantom was one of three tugs assisting the 70,000 tonne cargo ship Red Jasmine as it made its way along the River Clyde. In thick fog, the Flying Phantom called the ship to say they had grounded and the pilot instructed the tug to let go the line. However, the line came taut and the tug was pulled over and capsized – a situation known as “girting”.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency found that there were shortcomings in the application of the Port Marine Safety code in that neither the company secretary, nor the operations/human resources director, received training to adequately fulfil their role as the designated person with responsibility to ensure health and safety. Nevertheless a spokesman for Peel Ports has told the MSBA that no causal link was established between these health and safety breaches and the fatal incident.

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