Point­less in­quiry

The Oban Times - - Districts -

IT IS im­pos­si­ble not to feel sym­pa­thy with the Ma­cAl­is­ter fam­ily, whose son and brother Scott died when the fish­ing boat he was work­ing on, the Speed­well, foundered and sank in April 2013.

Scott’s fa­ther, Peter, and brothers, An­drew and Glen, have been cam­paign­ing since to have a mean­ing­ful in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cir­cum­stances that led to the tragedy. They could have been for­given for think­ing they had achieved just that when it was an­nounced that a fa­tal ac­ci­dent in­quiry (FAI) was to be held.

They have, quite rightly, slammed the hear­ing – which be­gan on Mon­day of this week – for be­ing fu­tile.

The Mar­itime and Coast­guard Agency (MCA) said be­fore a shred of ev­i­dence was ex­am­ined that the owner of the ves­sel would be given im­mu­nity from any po­ten­tial pros­e­cu­tion.

Quite how any in­ves­ti­ga­tion can set such pa­ram­e­ters be­fore it has even started is beyond me.

The MacAlis­ters have also been told that no at­tempt will be made to re­cover the Speed­well to see if there were safety or sea­wor­thi­ness is­sues which could have con­trib­uted to its sink­ing.

Again, surely that should con­sti­tute an es­sen­tial part of any probe into what hap­pened?

The MacAlis­ters had spo­ken of boy­cotting the FAI, be­liev­ing it to be a smoke­screen to blame Scott for what hap­pened and thereby draw a line un­der the events that took place that day.

As I said, I find it im­pos­si­ble in the cir­cum­stances not to agree with that sen­ti­ment.

Scott Ma­cAl­is­ter died when the fish­ing boat Speed­well sank.

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