Call to ac­count from skip­per’s fam­ily

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - NEWS INVERNESS -

The fam­ily of the skip­per of the tragic Louisa fish­ing boat have called for those who “failed” the crew to be held to ac­count.

Three men died in what is the West­ern Isles’ worst fish­ing dis­as­ter for half a cen­tury when the MFV Louisa was flooded by a deck hose and went down off Min­gu­lay in April last year.

Andy McMil­lan – brother of the ves­sel’s still-miss­ing skip­per, Paul Al­lis­ton – slammed de­lays in launch­ing a res­cue mis­sion, the non­func­tion­ing lif­er­aft and a po­ten­tial prob­lem with the life­jack­ets,

Mr McMil­lan said: “The peo­ple re­spon­si­ble should be pun­ished.”

The Marine Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch (MAIB) found a cat­a­logue of de­lays and er­rors over the sink­ing of the Stornoway-reg­is­tered 16-me­tre-long crab ves­sel.

There was an “un­nec­es­sary de­lay“of nearly an hour to despatch a he­li­copter and lifeboat to the scene.

Mr Al­lis­ton, 42, Martin John­stone, 29, from Caith­ness, and father-oftwo Chris Mor­ri­son, 27, from South Har­ris, died. Lach­lan Arm­strong, 27, from Stornoway, sur­vived af­ter swim­ming ashore to rocks.

The re­port found valu­able time was lost try­ing to ver­ify where the emer­gency oc­curred.

The MAIB said a “lack of UK Coast­guard net­work in­ter­ac­tion and su­per­vi­sion” contributed to the de­layed re­sponse.

Mr McMil­lan said: “These guys re­lied on the coast­guard ser­vice but they let them down.”

A spokesper­son for the Mar­itime and Coast­guard Agency (MCA) said: “The MCA is con­tin­u­ing to col­lab­o­rate with the MAIB on the con­tents of this re­port.”

“These guys re­lied on the coast­guard ser­vice”

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