Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

The Sinking Of The Trawler Gaul – Case Reopened

SCOOP BLOGWATCH:

The Sinking Of The Trawler Gaul – Case Reopened


http://the-trawler-gaul.blogspot.com
http://www.freewebs.com/inconvenientcitizen

The Hull trawler Gaul sank in 1974, in the Barents Sea. All the 36 crew members on board lost their lives in this tragedy. The vessel was two years old, well found and apparently very seaworthy.

During the 32 years that have passed since its loss, theories and speculation about the fate of the Gaul abounded.

Following the discovery of the wreck in 1997, the victims’ families intensified their calls for an investigation into the loss of the vessel.

During 1998 and in 2002, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) carried out underwater surveys of the wreck and put together a significant amount of evidence in respect of the condition of the vessel and circumstances that let to its loss. The Re-opened Formal Investigation (RFI), chaired by the Wreck Commissioner: justice David Steel, was eventually held in January-February 2004, and its final report was published at the end of 2004.

The whole array of proceedings, spanning over three decades, cost the taxpayer around £10 mil in today’s money.

The RFI concluded that the probable cause for the loss of the Gaul was the ingression of seawater through the duff and offal chutes on the starboard side, which accumulated rapidly on the factory deck and caused the ship to capsize and sink. The conclusion implied that the fault lay with the crew for having left these chutes open to the sea, or with the crew and the ship owners for having failed to properly maintain these chutes’ closing arrangements.

However, soon after the publication of the RFI final report, one of the naval architects who had been, to some extent, involved in the RFI, noted the failings of the investigation and, in spite of intense pressures and threats, decided to raise the alarm about the unsoundness of its outcome.

The document published at http://the-trawler-gaul.blogspot.com criticises the findings of the investigation and the way in which it was conducted. It also draws attention to the fact that the final report contains a number of inaccuracies and incomplete factual evidence, the overall effect of which looks tailored to suit the conclusions of the investigation panel.

The paper demonstrates the existence of an obvious design defect in the construction and arrangement of the duff and offal chutes on the Gaul, and puts forward alternative scenarios for the loss of the Gaul, on this basis.

The design defect identified involves the possibility of the exposed edge of the non-return flap of the chutes to be pushed open by the force of the sea, allowing thus the seawater to flood the factory deck compartment. The author also explains how, if the design arrangement of this flap cover had been different, this unfortunate likelihood could have been prevented.

It is also important to notice that, should the RFI report have found that the loss of the Gaul had been due to a design defect, the victims’ families could have been entitled to claim substantial compensation.

This critical review of the Gaul case has been publicly brought to the attention of all the parties who had been in charge of the formal investigation, but all of them, without exception, contrived to evade the subject either through silence or prevarication. The establishment, it seems, is prepared to spare no effort or expense and to employ a whole range of stratagems in order to bar and discredit any views that would contradict the official version.

What is more, it has now emerged that the design fault in question is not, in fact, new evidence, and that it had been revealed to the government some time ago, that is, prior to the MAIB’s underwater survey in 2002.

In private, some of those who have a more intimate knowledge of the Gaul case also admit that the outcome of the formal inquiry was questionable (similar, perhaps, in some respects, to the one held into the loss of the Derbyshire), but they shrink from the mere idea of opening such a ‘can of worms’.

Aware that, if left unscrutinised, the case will undoubtedly repeat itself, and ineffective accident investigation will become the norm, we are now opening this can.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: Biden’s Victory: A Eunuch Presidency Beckons

Whatever was set to happen on November 3, President Donald J. Trump would not lose. Falling in that establishment firebreak against democracy known as the Electoral College would not erase, let alone repudiate him. His now victorious opponent, far ... More>>

Reese Ehrlich: Foreign Correspondent: The Challenge For Joe Biden

If he’s smart, the likely President-elect will stop the unpopular endless wars and use the money to help our domestic economy. By Reese Erlich I’m pissed. I’m pissed at Donald Trump for trying to shut down the vote count early and at Republicans More>>

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

The Conversation: The Numbers Suggest The Campaign For Cannabis Reform In NZ Will Outlive The Generations That Voted Against It

Like Brexit in the UK, cannabis reform in New Zealand fell into an age gap — given time, a second referendum would probably succeed. More>>

Gordon Campbell: 22 Short Takes On The US Election

Finally, the long night of Donald Trump’s presidency is over. To date, the courts have been given no cause to conclude that the exhaustively lengthy counts of those mountains of mail ballots was anything other than legal. Stacking the US Supreme ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On How The US Supreme Court Is Undermining American Democracy

If Joe Biden is elected President next week, here comes the bad news. If Biden tries to defend Obamacare, combat climate change (via say, a variant of the Green New Deal) or tries to improve the access of US women to abortion services , he will run afoul ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog