Date set for inquiry into fatal sinking
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attach wires to the battery, it is suspected that the alarm in the engine-room was not working and the flare pack was out of date.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.