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Fraserburgh trawler gas death owner and skipper fined

By David Porter

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The owners and skipper of a fishing trawler have been fined following the death of a man who was overcome by gas on board.

A crew member on board, died after a gas leak was discovered in one of the vessel’s refrigerated tanks in August 2018 in Fraserburgh.

At Peterhead Sheriff Court on Monday, the owners, Sunbeam Limited, were fined £220,000 and the Skipper, James Duthie, aged 66, was also fined.

William Ironside, aged 52, fell ill on-board the Sunbeam, whilst in Fraserburgh Harbour in August, 2018, and he died a short time later. Four others also took ill and received treatment at the time in hospital.

A Police investigation was carried out in conjunction with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, along with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

Mr Ironside’s family have issued a statement: “It remains extremely hard for us to come to terms with what happened to William, even after all this time.

"William was a very much loved husband and father who will never be forgotten.

Detective Inspector Sam Buchan said: “Our thoughts remain with Mr Ironside’s family.

"I hope this goes some way to bring some sense of closure for them and importantly helps prevent other such incidents occurring in the future.”

Mr Ironside was working in the vessel's tank, which was used for storing catch, when he collapsed and died a short time later while others who tried to rescue him became dizzy, confused and short of breath.

The MAIB report recommended risk assessments for work in refrigerated saltwater tanks.

Investigators found the level of oxygen at the bottom of the tank was less than 6 per cent

The normal level should have been 20.9 per cent - and further tests showed the presence of a refrigerant gas.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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