Date set for inquiry into workboat death
The inquiry into the death of a Mowi Scotland employee is due to start with a preliminary hearing next month.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has lodged a First Notice to begin the court process for a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into the death of Clive Hendry.
Hendry, 58, died on 18 February 2020 while transferring from a work boat, the Beinn Na Caillich, to a Sea Cap feed barge at the company’s Ardintoul fish farm on the South side of Loch Alsh.
A preliminary hearing is set for 27 October 2023 at Inverness Sheriff Court.
In May this year, Mowi was fined £800,000 over the accident, having not contested the COPFS case. An earlier report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch had determined that Mowi had failed to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, or maintain systems of work for the health and safety of employees when transferring from a vessel to a structure such as Sea Cap.
The company also failed to provide employees with the necessary supervision to ensure lifejackets were properly tightened and secured.
Clive Hendry’s partner, Catriona Lockhart, has been pressing for an FAI, which she has said would go further than the court case to establish the root cause of the tragedy and ensure that the right lessons are learned by the aquaculture sector.
The purpose of the FAI includes determining the cause of death; the circumstances in which the deaths occurred, and to establish what, if any, reasonable precautions could have been taken, and could be implemented in the future, to minimise the risk of future deaths in similar circumstances.
Unlike criminal proceedings, FAIs are inquisitorial in nature, and are used to establish facts rather than to apportion blame.
The Inquiry will explore the circumstances of Clive Hendry’s death, with particular focus on risk assessments and systems of work in relation to boat transfers to the Sea Cap, the wearing of restraining straps on lifejackets and the content and frequency of any man overboard training delivered by the company.
Procurator Fiscal Andy Shanks, who leads on death investigations for COPFS, said: “The death of Clive Hendry occurred while in the course of his employment and as such a Fatal Accident Inquiry is mandatory.
“The lodging of the First Notice enables FAI proceedings to commence under the direction of the Sheriff.
“Mr Hendry’s family will continue to be kept informed of significant developments as court proceedings progress.”