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The collapse of a crane which led to the tragic death of the skipper of a fish farm workboat in Mull last year was to failings in the manner the crane was attached to the deck of the vessel, according to the results of a Marine Accident Investigation Branch report which was published today.


On 30 April 2015, an Atlas lorry loader crane fitted on the workboat Carol Anne – managed by Inverlussa Marine – collapsed while being used to retrieve the last of five sunken nets at a Scottish Sea Farms’ salmon site at Balure, on Loch Spelve.

At approximately 11.40, the final net was lifted and slewed over the starboard side in the same manner as the previous four. 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 25-year-old skipper Jamie Kerr, from Oban, pinning him to the bow ramp, and he was declared deceased at the scene.

The crane had been in operation since its installation 6½ weeks earlier. It was not overloaded when it failed.

The MAIB has identified the following safety Issues

  • No installation guidance was provided with the crane
  • The crane was installed with smaller and fewer tie bolts than intended by its manufacturer
  • The lock nuts were of a lower grade material strength than indicated by their markings
  • The statutory thorough examination and test of the crane following its installation did not identify the inadequacy of the mounting arrangement

MAIB recommendations

In July 2015, a recommendation (2015/142) was made to Atlas (UK), the crane’s supplier, to ensure the integrity of Atlas cranes installed on other workboats. In addition, in October 2015, West Yorkshire Trading Standards was informed of the misleading markings on the lock nuts.

Recommendation (2016/122) to Atlas Maschinen GmbH, the crane’s manufacturer, is aimed at ensuring that installation information is provided with all Atlas cranes fitted in the UK.

Recommendation (2016/123) to the Association of Lorry Loader Manufacturers and Importers is intended to improve the effectiveness of thorough examinations and testing of shipborne lorry loader cranes.

Recommendations (2016/124 and 2016/125) to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Inverlussa Marine Services, Carol Anne’s manager, are intended to improve adherence to, and the effectiveness of, established codes of practice with regard to the installation or replacement of shipborne cranes on workboats.