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Families welcome Bahrain boat Disaster Charges

Bahrain boat accident


Families of passengers who died in the Bahrain boat disaster on 30th March 2006 have welcomed the decision to press serious criminal charges against the owner and captain of the Al Dana dhow in which 58 passengers died. The captain Rajendra-kumar Ramjibhai and the owner Abdulla Al Kobaisi have been ordered to appear before Bahrain's Lower Criminal Court on Tuesday 6th June. Both face charges including fatal neglect and sea transportation deficiency.

The Prosecution maintain the owners' failure to ensure the dhows usability and safety to transport passengers has been confirmed as the cause of the accident.

It also appears that the Bahrain dhow, which was not properly licensed, was overcrowded and that there was evidence of flagrant negligence against the owner and captain.

The Prosecution also alleges that the captain had inadequate qualifications to be in charge of the Al Dana.

Bahrain boat disaster solicitors

The capsizing of the Al Dana led to the deaths of 58 passengers, most of them trapped on the lower level of the vessel when it sank with over 150 passengers on board. Families of the dead and injured have instructed national Law Firm Irwin Mitchell to represent their interests and find who was to blame for the boat disaster which occurred in the Gulf off the coast of Bahrain.

The Al Dana was hired by local company Island Tours who in turn chartered the boat to the construction company, Murray & Roberts for a party to celebrate the completion of part of the Bahrain World Trade Centre. Murray & Roberts, a South African company but with offices in the UK, lost ten employees.

Also invited to the event were employees of Surrey construction company W.S. Atkins plc who were also involved in the construction project. 5 members of W.S Atkins' UK staff also died on board. In total 13 Britons died in the Bahrain boat tragedy.

The families of the dead have been calling for a thorough investigation into the cause of the sinking. Eye witness reports suggest that up to 130 passengers were on board the Bahrain Dhow when it left the dock, while the maximum permitted was allegedly only 100 passengers. The dhow capsized in the harbour shortly after it set sail. The casualty rate could have been much higher if other passengers had not disembarked before the boat set off.

Clive Garner, Head of the International Travel Litigation Group at Irwin Mitchell said "This tragedy has devastated the lives of many people drawn from across the world. What was meant as a celebration quickly turned into a tragedy which could so easily have been avoided if proper care had been taken."

Mr Garner continued "Serious criminal charges have been laid against the boat owner, its Captain and crew. The authorities in Bahrain have undertaken investigations into the circumstances leading to this tragedy and as well as monitoring the criminal proceedings we are undertaking our own further investigations including working closely with Bahrain lawyers. Those investigations and the conclusion of the criminal proceedings should provide answers to many of the questions raised by a number of our clients."

Stephen Doyle who lost his mother and sister in the tragedy said "All we are looking for at the moment are answers and to ensure nothing like this can happen again. This was an organised excursion and we put our trust in what we believed were reputable and dependable organisations. How something as terrible as this can have happened, remains the central question we want answered."

Do you have a related claim? If you or someone you know has been involved in a boat disaster, visit our boat accidents section.