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Sheriff promises grieving family that findings will be issued ‘as quickly as possible’

Jamie Kerr was a workboat skipper for Inverlussa Marine Services when the accident happened.
Jamie Kerr was a workboat skipper for Inverlussa Marine Services when the accident happened.

A sheriff told the grieving family of a young skipper that he will do everything he can to issue a determination “as quickly as possible” at the close of a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

Jamie Kerr, 25, was killed when a crane collapsed on his vessel in April 2015.

He was working for Inverlussa Marine Services when the tragedy took place at a mussel farm at Loch Spelve, near Craignure on Mull.

Mr Kerr was supervising a 20-year-old deckhand in unloading the last of the nets when the crane suddenly collapsed.

His colleague managed to run for safety but Mr Kerr was pinned to the side of the vessel, Carole Anne, and could not be saved.

At a hearing of Oban Sheriff Court, held via video due to Covid restrictions, the Crown and solicitors representing the various parties asked the court to accept their written submissions.

Sheriff Patrick Hughes said he was conscious that the proceedings would have been difficult for Mr Kerr’s family. He said: “I will do everything I can to make sure that a written determination on this matter will be issued as quickly as possible.”

An investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said his death could have been avoided if the crane had been more securely attached to the vessel’s deck.

They found the bolts, nuts and washers used to secure it were weaker and fewer than required.

Following his death, managing director of Inverlussa Ben Wilson said: “Everyone is devastated… Jamie was one of our brightest and best.”

The MAIB report stated: “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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