In what is being viewed as an industry changing court ruling, an Orkney Charter business has been ordered to pay £290,000 compensation to the young son of a diver who died during a dive in 2012.
The case was brought on behalf of Vincent Warner, who was only 9 months old when his father Lex Warner died during a dive with Scapa Flow Charters off Cape Wrath.
The court heard that Mr Warner, 50, from Sutton Coldfield had fallen in full kit while still onboard the MV Elaine in 2012. Despite being asked by skipper, Andy Cuthbertson if he wanted to abandon the dive, Lex insisted that he was fine to enter the water.
Mr Warner experienced difficulties during the deep technical dive which caused him to make an emergency ascent and could not be revived once back onboard.
The judge, Lord Sandison said the skipper had “not done enough to minimise the recognised risk of divers walking on deck in fins carrying heavy equipment”. He said that Mr Warner had received an abdominal injury from the fall and despite being an “experienced diver”, made an emergency ascent “in an anxious and ultimately panicked state” from 80m.
Lord Sandison ruled that if safer practices had been in place, Mr Warner would not have been seriously hurt from the fall and the resulting incident was therefore the fault of Scapa Flow Charters.