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Fines follow Holyhead ferry link collapse

KENT-BASED specialist harbour structures firm Port Installations has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £43,500 in costs following the collapse of a shore to ferry link span during installation in October 1995 (NCE 12 October 1995).

Port Installations pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of workers after the accident at Holyhead Port in Anglesey.

John Hughes, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, told Holyhead magistrates court last week that while no one was injured during the accident, 'this was more by good fortune than good management'.

Hughes explained that a temporary system of ties was used to stabilise the link-span's

supporting legs when work had to be suspended overnight. These ties failed during an early morning high tide, causing an underwater buoyancy tank for the 35m long ro-ro ramp to overturn, float to the surface and collapse the link span.

The system of ties was designed by Port Installation's managing director Peter Pawlyn. HSE investigator Hywel Williams said that although design calculations were correct and had been checked, work on site did not reflect the assumptions made. Unexpected friction

where ties passed around the structure meant that the force in the four tie strops was unequal and higher than predicted.

The link span was part of developments at Holyhead Port for Stena Sealink's new high-speed Sea Service vessel to Ireland.The design and installation f the link was carried out for project manager LG Mouchel & Partners by Port Installations and was built in Sweden by Norwegian firm NorEnt.

Port Installations has suffered serious financial problems since the accident and has been forced to enter a voluntary arrangement to pay off its creditors.

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