Loch Ness Cruise Ship Operator Fined After Crew Member Loses Leg in Accident

By ,   October 28, 2016 ,   Accidents

A crew member lost her leg after she became entangled in a rope holding Loch Ness cruise ship returning to berth.

Aurelia Thabert was injured in the accident on the ship Jacobite Queen when the vessel moved forward and tightened the rope around her leg.

The operator, Jacobite Cruises Ltd, admitted charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act over the accident in June 20, 2012.

At Inverness Sheriff Court on Thursday, master Andrew Lach also admitted an offence under the Merchant Shipping Act. They were fined a total of £8000 for the offences.

Ms Thabert, who was 25 at the time, was attempting to release a rope from the side of the lock when her right foot became entangled in it at Dochgarroch Locks on the Caledonian Canal in Inverness.

She was taken to Raigmore Hospital where her leg had to be amputated.

Lach, 47, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure all mooring ropes had been removed from the hooks at the side of the locks, before putting the engines ahead.

Jacobite Cruises admitted failing to ensure there was an appropriate means of communication available between the master and crew while mooring ropes were being handled.

Area operations manager for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Captain Bill Bennett said:

"Basic seamanship says that if the master doesn't have a clear line of sight to the aft mooring rope ashore, they should not attempt to put the engine ahead before getting the all clear.

"The investigation clearly showed that although the company provided UHF handheld walkie-talkie radios aboard the vessel, these were not working on the day in question. 

"This potentially impacted the ability of the master and crew to communicate clearly with one another."