Fish farm diver wins €534,000 compensation following accident

A fish farm diver who was seriously disabled almost a decade ago following an accident has been awarded €534,000 (£472,000) in compensation by a court in Malta.

Frederick Catania was working for the tuna farmer Ta’ Mattew Fish Farm on the Mediterranean island in April 2012 when the incident took place.

The court heard that he had dived to a depth of around 70 metres to work on fish farm cages when he suffered spinal decompression and was later admitted to hospital.

The incident left him with a permanent 75% disability and unable to work. He had sued his employer for damages, arguing the company had had failed to ensure a safe system of work, the Times of Malta reports.

Another report said the Catania was familiar with deep diving to work on fish cages, but this time he had only been provided with a standard oxygen cylinder instead of the specialist equipment needed for working at such depths.

The court was told that the incident left him with a permanent 75% disability and unable to work.

He had brought an action for damages, claiming Ta’ Mattew Fish Farms had had failed to ensure a safe system of work.

The company denied this claim, adding that Catania had been paid his dues as well as some additional payments as a form of “charity”. It also stated that Catania’s contract stated he had to provide his own diving equipment. However, it was unable to provide a copy of the contract.

Catania was awarded €534,000 (£470,000) in damages, calculated on lost earnings, together with accrued interest.

Ta’ Mattew Fish Farms Limited was also ordered to pay court costs. It is not known whether the company plans to appeal.

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