No FAI Into Tug Sinking
1 October 2014, 18:54
A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) will not be held in to the deaths of three crewmen who lost their lives when their tug boat sank almost seven years ago.
The Crown Office said the decision had been reached after full consultation with the families of those who died.
The Flying Phantom capsized in thick fog on December 19 2007 while towing a cargo vessel on the River Clyde.
Captain Stephen Humphreys, 33, and Eric Blackley, 57, both from Gourock, Inverclyde, died along with Bob Cameron, 65, from Houston, Renfrewshire, after the boat ran aground in the Clydebank area of West Dunbartonshire.
The decision not to hold an FAI was made by Scotland's top law officer Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland.
It follows the outcome of criminal prosecutions against tug operator Svitzer Marine Ltd and Clydeport Operations Limited, the second of which came to an end at court earlier this week.
Following the sinking, Danish firm Svitzer Marine Ltd last year admitted a series of health and safety failings and was fined £1.7 million.
Port operator Clydeport was fined £650,000 at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday over health and safety breaches.
The Crown said the Lord Advocate was satisfied that the reasons for the tragedy have already been established through "a public examination of the full facts and circumstances of this case during the course of the criminal process''.
The steps which could have prevented it have also been identified, officials added.
Crown officials met with the families of Mr Humphreys, Mr Blackley and Mr Cameron last month to discuss the case.
They also had a similar meeting with Brian Aitchison, the surviving member of the Flying Phantom crew.
Gary Aitken, head of the health and safety division of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: "Criminal proceedings are now at an end and the Lord Advocate has decided that a fatal accident inquiry is not required.
"We regret the passage of time since that awful night but hope that people understand that no matter how complex the circumstances or how detailed the investigation the Crown will continue to hold businesses to account for their failures to discharge their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work legislation to their employees and to anyone else affected by them.
"The convictions mark, in a very public way, the wrongdoing perpetrated by the companies over an extended period of time.
"Systems have since been put in place to prevent a recurrence and the safety regime for towing operations is far more robust than what existed until 2007.''