A seafood company has been fined £80,000 after a fisherman died when his leg became caught in a rope and he was pulled overboard.
Mark Elder, 26, from Thurso, was working on the creel boat North Star off Cape Wrath on 5 February 2018.
He was helping to deploy creels when he became entangled in a coil of rope and was dragged overboard and into the sea.
Thurso-based Scrabster Seafoods Ltd was fined after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches.
On Wednesday, Tain Sheriff Court heard Mr Elder’s crew-mates tried to stop him from going into the water.
It took about 10 minutes for him to be brought back on board. Efforts to resuscitate Mr Elder continued for more than an hour, but were unsuccessful.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency investigation found that Scrabster Seafoods’ directors had no experience of operating and managing fishing vessels.
The probe also found they had failed to arrange or complete the required new risk assessment when they purchased the boat in November 2016.
The court heard changes were made to the boat that should have initiated fresh risk assessments.
Scrabster Seafoods pled guilty to contraventions of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the sentencing, Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: “Mark Elder lost his life in circumstances which were foreseeable and entirely avoidable.
“Had the required risk assessments been carried out and safe systems of work been put in place then Mr Elder may well be alive today.
“Hopefully this incident should prompt other employers to consider their duties and that failing to keep their employees safe can have fatal consequences for which they will be held accountable.”