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Scots scallop diving company who lost worker at sea for 11 hours fined £15,000

A Scots scallop diving company has been hit with a £15,000 fine after losing one of their crew members at sea for 11 hours.

Orkney Dived Scallops failed to safely plan, manage or conduct a dive from the Fair Morn vessel in May 2017.

Bulgarian worker Ivan Doychev was found drifting more than 14 miles from where he had started his dive after an overnight search around South Ronaldsay.

Two helicopters and four commercial vessels joined the RNLI in a search for the then 40-year-old, who miraculously survived the terrifying ordeal.

He was plucked to safety from the Pentland Firth by a Russian sail training boat which spotted him in the water

His employers were hauled to court after failing to provide the necessary equipment to their crews, including personal location beacons or a suitable lifeline.

Orkney Dived Scallops also did not accurately record the dive and did not ensure all divers had the appropriate medical certificates.

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In another incident on 7 March 2017, the company failed to have enough qualified crew to carry out a dive safely on the vessel Patsy B.

They also did not ensure the health and safety of a 17-year-old crew member during this dive.

The company pled guilty to three charges at Kirkwall Sheriff Court last month and were fined on Thursday, September 2.

Head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Health and Safety Investigation Unit Alistair Duncan said: “By failing to ensure their vessels were crewed by properly qualified divers, and by not providing appropriate safety equipment, Orkney Dived Scallops put their employees at unacceptable risk.

“This resulted in a prolonged ordeal for one crew member, who was stranded at sea for eleven hours.

“This prosecution should serve as a reminder to other fishing companies of their responsibilities to their workers.”

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