Al Dana capsize disaster - inquest
Law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is representing the families of the British people killed in the Bahrain boat tragedy, has today welcomed an inquests findings as helpful but say more questions need answering as to why 58 people died after the Al Dana boat capsized.
Clive Garner from Irwin Mitchell solicitors who is representing the families of the deceased and victims of the tragedy said: The coroner concluded that that the capsizing of the Al Dana was due to a number of serious errors by those very people responsible for passenger safety.
Those errors included failure by those who owned, licensed and sailed the Al Dana. Todays inquest has been helpful in answering a number of important questions relating to what went wrong. However, further questions need to be answered to ensure that justice is done for the victims of this terrible tragedy and so that lessons can be learned to avoid a similar disaster in the future.
In total 58 people, including 12 Britons, perished when the Al Dana capsized off the Bahrain coast on March 30 2006, with approximately 130 passengers on board. Most of the 58 who died were trapped on the lower level of the vessel.
The Al Dana was hired by local company Island Tours who in turn chartered the boat to construction firm, Murray & Roberts, for a party to celebrate the completion of part of the Bahrain World Trade Centre. Murray & Roberts, a South African company, with offices in the UK, lost ten employees. In addition, employees of Surrey construction firm W.S. Atkins plc, who were involved in the construction project, were invited to the event. Five members of W.S Atkins' UK staff were amongst those who died on board.
The coroner heard damning evidence from marine expert, Barry Deakin who identified three principal causes of the accident:
- The vessel had inadequate stability
- The inspection and certification process in Bahrain was inadequate
- The crews qualification and training were inadequate
Mr Deakin gave evidence that he thought that if any one of these three aspects had been adequately dealt with, the accident would have probably been avoided. The Coroner also read from written witness statements given by survivors, and two police officers who also gave evidence relating to the identification of the deceased.
The inquest started in October 2006 but had to be adjourned until 7 December after further documentation was requested by the coroner from Bahraini authorities.
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