Yacht Company Fined £25,000

A yacht company has been fined £25,000 plus £65,000 in costs after a worker suffered horrific burns and almost died when a tall ship that was undergoing refurbishment caught fire.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which took the prosecution, described how welder Rolf Kitching was found unconscious after the fire. He suffered 40 percent burns to his upper torso and head and was hospitalised for four months after the blaze in the Malcolm Miller tall ship at Hythe Marina, Southampton, five years ago.

Yacht Project Associates Ltd. (YPAL), from Dorset, which was overseeing the refurbishment, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Southampton Crown Court. The court heard that when the blaze started, the welder had been working in a saloon area on steelwork that had been sprayed with insulation foam, but that no one knew exactly how the fire started or what actually happened. He was rescued by fellow workers, but suffered such extensive burns that he was not expected to survive. He is still too ill to work.

The HSE established that hot work on board the ship was poorly controlled and managed. It found:

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