Ferry lifejackets same as those in Louisa tragedy
Marine Accident Investigation Board’s report into the tragedy published this week revealed the Cosalt Premier lifejackets the three men were wearing, should have self-righted, turning them onto their backs and leaving the men’s airways clear.
The report called on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to conduct further research into the testing of the buoyancy aids as “a matter of urgency”.
CalMac, which has 33 ferries on its West Coast routes, confirmed it uses the same lifejackets.
Each ferry has one for every passenger and crew and a company spokesman stressed “safety is our main priority”. He said: “We note the findings of the board’s report into the Louisa accident and, in particular, the concerns about the lifejackets used.
“Safety is our main priority and we will be reviewing, as we always do, these findings to see if there are any implications for our safety procedures.
“We will also ask the MCA for their guidance on the issues around life- jackets and if they advise or instruct a change we will, of course, fully comply.”
Highland Council operates the Corran Ferry in Lochaber. A spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that it had almost 170 Cosalt Premier lifejackets on board.
Trawlerman Jimmy Buchan, of Peterhead, said: “We must learn from a tragedy like this and there has to be further investigations. There is no point in carrying the equipment if it is not going to do the job.”
Steve Clinch, chief inspector of Marine Accidents, had said: “A lifejacket should turn an unconscious person on to their back and keep their airway clear of the water.
“It is therefore of concern that the skipper and two crew were tragically found unresponsive and face down in their lifejackets when the rescue services arrived.”
A Marine Accident Investigation Board spokesman said yesterday: “This is the first time a concern has been raised over the performance of lifejack- ets. The concern needs to be substantiated which is why we are recommending the MCA conduct urgent research.” An elderly woman has been taken to hospital after a fire in Lochaber.
The 88-year-old received treatment at the Belford Hospital in Fort William after the incident at a house in Lochy Road, Inverlochy.
A fire service spokeswoman said: “We received the call at 10.56pm on Thursday.
“Two appliances attended from Fort William, but the fire had been extinguished when they arrived and the casualty was in the