Painter ‘flew from one side of the bridge to the other’ as ship tipped over

Dozens were injured when the Petrel tipped over in a dry dock last month.

A worker among 35 people injured when a US naval ship tipped over in a dry dock has spoke about the “scary” incident as a law firm looks into potential civil actions.

Constantin Pogor said he was thrown from one side of the bridge of the Petrel to the other, cracked his ribs on a metal beam and passed out.

The Romanian national is among several of those hurt in the incident currently being represented by law firm Digby Brown.

The 48-year-old suffered a dislocated elbow and fractured pelvis and is still being treated for his injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is investigating after the Petrel became dislodged from its holding at the Imperial Dock in Leith, Edinburgh, in March and tipped over, leaving 35 people injured.

Speaking about the incident, Mr Pogor said: “I heard a loud noise, felt movement and I just had this reflex reaction to try and hold onto something but I didn’t get to grab onto anything.

“I flew from one side of the bridge to the other and landed on my right side and hit my ribs on a metal beam.

“I must have passed out because I remember just sort of coming to – that’s when I realised my elbow was dislodged.

“A colleague then tried to move me – it was realty painful and that’s when I realised that although I could move my legs, something was wrong in my hip.

“I still don’t even know what actually happened that day to cause the ship to fall.”

He said he had sought his own lawyers to investigate and believes there are a “lot of other people onboard who’ve done the same”.

Ship dislodged at Imperial Dock
Emergency services at Imperial Dock in Leith, Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)

He added: “But I want to shed light on what happened to me just so people back home know I’m relatively okay.

“It was scary at the time – especially when you’re not able to speak the same language.

“But I’m being looked after now, have a translator and I’m focused on my recovery.”

Digby Brown Solicitors have confirmed they are assisting people affected with legal inquiries.

A Digby Brown spokesman said: “We can confirm we assisting a number of injured people affected by the Leith docks incident.

“Our inquiries are at an early stage so we cannot comment further on the specifics; however we will continue to support and advise all affected people.”

Ship dislodged at Imperial Dock
The ship had been docked at Leith since 2020 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The 76m-long Petrel was once owned by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who bought the ship to locate historically significant shipwrecks, discovering 30 sunken warships.

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

A spokesperson for Dales Marine Services, which runs the dry dock, told the Scotsman that there were “no new updates or comments at this time”.

A spokesperson from Oceaneering told the newspaper: “The safety of our employees and the communities in which we operate is our utmost priority. Company personnel were aboard at the time of the incident.”

The firm added that upon learning of the incident, it initiated an internal investigation and is working closely with appropriate bodies.

The US Navy said previously: “The Navy procured Petrel in September 2022 to support our efforts in maritime domain awareness.

“We are working closely with the on-site authorities, who are in the best position to help those in need and to provide status updates. We will continue to communicate with our contacts at the scene in order to understand what occurred.”

The Petrel had been moored at the dry dock since September 3 2020 due to “operational challenges” from the pandemic.

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