Victims left with 'catastrophic' injuries after ship toppled in dock

More than 30 people required medical treatment after the RV Petrel collapsed in Leith a year ago.

People left with “life-changing injuries” when a ship toppled in dry dock in Edinburgh are still waiting for answers one year on from the major emergency incident.

The RV Petrel collapsed at Imperial Dock in Leith at around 8.29am on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, with 35 people being treated by medics.

The vessel, owned by the US Navy and operated by Oceaneering International Ltd, tipped over to a 45-degree angle.

A dozen ambulances, an air ambulance, three trauma teams and other emergency resources were sent to the scene.

The Petrel, owned by the US Navy, was left leaning at a 45-degree angle in the dry dock.@Tomafc83 /Twitter

NHS Lothian received 21 patients, with 17 treated at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE) and four at the Western General Hospital (WGH), while two people were taken to hospital in Fife.

A further 12 patients were treated at the scene and discharged.

Following the incident, the Health and Safety Executive said it was aware and was investigating. One year on, the watchdog told STV News its investigation is ongoing.

Solicitors acting for 13 people involved said some have been left with “catastrophic, life-changing injuries”.

A spokesman for lawyers Digby Brown said: “It has now been one year since this incident occurred but the authorities have not yet confirmed what failings led to the dry dock collapse of RV Petrel.

MV Petrel at Leith Dock is now uprightSTV News

“As with any incident, it’s the not knowing that often causes upset and the lack of answers here continues to cause unrest and concern among survivors.

“We currently support 13 people from four different nations and while I cannot divulge details, some have suffered truly catastrophic, life-changing injuries.

“Our priority is making sure each person has access to enhanced treatment so the outcome of their physical recovery may be as positive as possible.”

The ship was put upright nearly two months after the incident at the dock operated by Dales Marine Services.

MV Petrel at Leith Dock was put upright nearly two months after the incident in March, 2023. Photo: STV News.STV News

The 76m-long Petrel was once owned by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who bought the ship to locate historically significant shipwrecks and discovered 30 sunken warships, including the Japanese Imperial Navy’s IJN Musashi.

However, in 2022, the Isle of Man-registered vessel was sold to the US Navy and is now operated by American-owned firm Oceaneering International.

The Petrel was moored at Imperial Dry Dock in Leith from September 3, 2020, due to “operational challenges” from the Covid pandemic.

A spokesperson for HSE said: “A joint investigation into the incident between HSE and Police Scotland is ongoing.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “The RV Petrel has now made its onward journey from Leith docks, Edinburgh.

“Officers continue to work with the Health and Safety Executive to establish the full circumstances of this incident.”

Dales Marine Services and Oceaneering International have been contacted for comment.

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