Date set for in­quiry into fa­tal sink­ing

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

THE date of the fa­tal ac­ci­dent in­quiry (FAI) into the founder­ing of the Speed­well with the loss of life of a solo crew­man has now been set for the first week in June.

Scott MacAlis­ter, 40, from Seil, was lost at sea on April 25, 2013, when the boat he was work­ing on sank near In­nish and Seil is­lands.

But the boat, which the fam­ily be­lieve to have been de­fec­tive, will not form part of the phys­i­cal ev­i­dence in the FAI.

Scott’s fa­ther, Peter, and broth­ers An­drew and Glen, have been de­ter­mined to bring in­for­ma­tion about the boat to the hear­ing.

Peter said: ‘The re­sult of the ar­ti­cle in The Oban Times last week is that a date for the FAI has been in­ti­mated as June 5, 6 and 7. Un­for­tu­nately, the main in­for­ma­tion in re­gard to the sink­ing of Speed­well [with a Cygnus hull] will be pro­vided by the re­port pub­lished by the Marine Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Board (MAIB). There­fore it is likely to be a sham. The hear­ing will find my son at fault.

‘An­drew and I have a long his­tory of work­ing in the marine in­dus­try and we have found in­ac­cu­ra­cies in the MAIB re­port. Our find­ings are backed up by a renowned marine con­sul­tant, who had the ben­e­fit of of­fi­cial Cygnus draw­ings and pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence pro­vided by the owner of a sim­i­lar hull.

‘For four years, the fam­ily have asked the MAIB to re­visit its in­ves­ti­ga­tion but we have been met with to­tal re­fusal. This, we be­lieve, is a face-sav­ing ex­er­cise.

‘The Mar­itime and Coast­guard Agency, the au­thor­ity charged with polic­ing the fish­ing fleet, has con­cluded that no-one will be pros­e­cuted. How can this be when an of­fi­cial state­ment in the MAIB re­port stat­ing “the ves­sel was not sea­wor­thy” should surely make the need for some cul­pa­bil­ity for ei­ther the MCA or the owner of the ves­sel?

‘The ev­i­dence for any­one to see, and in­cluded in the of­fi­cial MAIB re­port, is that life­jack­ets had no record of ser­vice, the lif­er­aft had no record of ser­vice, the pump in the hold was not work- ing, the alarm in the hold was not work­ing, the en­gine-room pump re­quired the crew to en­ter the en­gine room and at­tach wires to the bat­tery, it is sus­pected that the alarm in the en­gine-room was not work­ing and the flare pack was out of date. Any one of these would ren­der the ves­sel not to com­ply with the MCA code.

‘When the ves­sel was last tested by the MCA in 2009 the faults were be­lieved to have been rec­ti­fied to the sat­is­fac­tion of the MCA and yet the faults were re­ported to still be there in 2013.

‘No pa­per­work or in­for­ma­tion regarding how this was done has been pro­vided by ei­ther the owner or the MCA.’

The MCA made no com­ment.

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