Monday, December 31, 2007

An old theory re-surfaces

At the beginning of December, a new book saw the light of the day. Fishing Explorer – authored by Ernest Suddaby, a former skipper of the Gaul, and published by Maritime Info UK Ltd - makes a very pleasurable read.
Put together with brilliant literary skill, printed in excellent graphic conditions and warmly prefaced by Alan Johnson MP, the book offers the reader a rich source of documentary information and photographic material.
The book carries two main narrative threads: one which depicts the author’s trip to the Falklands and one recounting his time as skipper onboard the Gaul, interspersed with personal memories and anecdotes.
In his account of the Gaul, along with his impressions and recollections of past events and more recent developments in the Gaul saga – many of which are well worthy of note - the author also shares with us his disagreement with the results of the 2004 Formal Investigation, and his personal opinions as to the causes that might have led to the loss of the vessel.In the author’s view, the sinking of the Gaul was caused by foul weather and bad luck, which led to flooding through the two fish loading hatches cut into the trawl deck. These hatches, it is suggested, could have been opened by the pull of gravity, when the vessel rolled beyond 90 degrees in heavy seas.
Mr Suddaby’s hypothesis is not that new, in fact it has been, if we may say so, previously enjoyed. It is what the results of the first formal inquiry, held in 1974, implied. The MAIB also flirted with this theory for a while, although, after the 2002 underwater survey and further reflection, they decided to abandon it. They did not, however, explain very well why.
Therefore, we have taken it upon ourselves to try and present the reasons why this loss scenario is merely a conception (so as not to say mis-conception) rather than a real possibility.
To elucidate matters, we have compiled the video clip below, which, in a simplified manner, attempts to show how the fish loading hatches on the Gaul would have behaved under various roll conditions. The model presented therein shows that gravity – which inexorably acts downwards at all times and circumstances - would have had the effect of keeping the hatch covers closed and prevented seawater from getting inside the ship, when the ship rolled to an angle of 90 degrees from its vertical position. The model also shows that, when the ship rolled beyond 90 degrees, the hatch covers would have still been kept closed by seawater pressure, and that this would have happened even without taking into account the effects of the hydraulic ram system, which was connected to the hatches.
Enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Commentless


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* image based on a cartoon by Dan Perjovski

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The broken pact

In our post of July 12 2007, we explained that, according to the 1995 Merchant Shipping Act and the 2006 Fraud Act, the Secretary of State for Transport would be likely to commit the offence of fraud by abuse of position, if she did not order a re-opening of the Gaul Investigation in the light of the evidence we presented.
Six months have passed since and, having failed to take appropriate action or to provide any reasonable justification, not even a word, in support of her decision not to re-examine the case, Mrs Ruth Kelly, currently at the helm of the Department for Transport, appears to be either ill-advised or consciously in breach of the law.
As Lenin and his associates used to dismiss the law as bourgeois sham, the New Labour regime shows a similar contempt for legality, though not so much for ideological reasons, as out of recklessness and a lack of ethical commitment.
The significance of the rule of law in the survival of a democracy is not a complicated concept to appreciate – it guards against tyranny and holds society together. When the political power applies the rules discriminately and self-interestedly, the tacit pact between society and the state - which, in the end, gives the law its legitimacy - is broken.
The New Labour government, however, doesn’t seem to worry too much over these consequences.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Inventions and devices

In our previous posts we uncovered a number of inadequacies in the expert analysis carried out during the 2004 Gaul RFI.
More recently, we have highlighted some serious flaws in the RFI analysis pertaining to the Gaul’s sinking scenario.
Yesterday, we raised doubts as to the quality of the information put forward by the RFI panel of experts in their paper: ‘The Loss of the M.F.V Gaul’ which was presented to the Royal Institution of Naval Architects in 2006.
Today, we would like to go back to that same paper and question why a door self-closing mechanism, similar to the one pictured below, was mentioned only in that document, while the 2004 RFI report, the transcripts of evidence or other related sources do not seem to include any reference to such a device.
8.3(c) Flooding of liver plant
Subsequent to the model testing, it was found although the door from the factory to the liver plant room……………. The door was partially shut by a self-closing device…”
The answer may be quite simple: without such a device, which would have allowed floodwater to become trapped inside the liver plant room (and thus change the stability behaviour of the vessel), the vessel-sinking scenario chosen by the RFI experts would have been less plausible.
Apart from the lack of evidence as to the existence of a self-closer, it is also important to note that the door to the liver plant room on the factory deck was a weathertight door to which - naval architects know it is neither standard shipbuilding practice nor stated norm - self-closing devices are not fitted because they do not work correctly.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hyperbolic representation

On 25 January 2006, the Gaul RFI experts panel presented a paper entitled ‘The Loss of the M.F.V Gaul’ (see http://www.bctq.com/downloads/Gaul.pdf) to the Royal Institution of Naval Architects. This paper - a summary on the work the experts had concluded during the 2004 RFI - flatly states:
There was no logical reason why the duff and offal chute lids were secured in the open position, whilst dodging, other than crew error. It is also difficult to understand why the flap valves were jammed in the open position other than bad maintenance onboard or shore.”
Familiar perhaps with the old wisdom that a good slogan can stop fifty years of analysis, or maybe emboldened by the calm passage of time, the Gaul experts claimed in their paper more certainty for the results of the 2004 RFI than the course of the proceedings ever warranted, and confidently put forward a more unequivocal explanation for the open state of the chutes’ inner lids.
Thus, what justice Steel and his associates had delicately implied at the end of the RFI, fourteen months later, the experts laid down in more explicit language, adding extra detail, specificity and emphasis to what the legal staff had left unsaid.
Had our Gaul experts been more scrupulous in checking their notes, the RFI transcripts of evidence and the final report, they would have remembered that the duff and offal chutes’ lids had not actually been found secured in the open position. Though, of course, the implication that the lids had been found so allowed the crew error/negligence label to be much more easily attached.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Government's Reform Agenda

A number of critical observations on the Professional Skills Competency Framework - a strategic element of the government's Reform Agenda have been published at: http://www.xanga.com/Amilcarre
Seen as a new lever in the appropriation of the Civil Service by the political power, the plan could grant politicised senior management undue discretionary control over professional staff within the Service.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cultivating detachment

Our press release (see the post below) seems to have, to some extent, flooded the Internet. Why, we didn’t really foresee that...
Anyway, we now ought to go back to the first pieces in the Gaul RFI domino chain - the Department for Transport.
Next week we will be celebrating two months since we first asked the Department for the names of those elusive in-house technical experts who, allegedly, advised the DfT not to re-open the Gaul investigation. (See our posts of 13 November and 31 October.).
Given that to act is inconceivable and not to act is unfeasible, the latest message from the head of Shipping Policy unit in the DfT, delivered cautiously via intermediaries, was that we should continue waiting.
Now, it appears, is not a good time to have our curiosity satisfied. The omens look unfavourable to the government for the moment.
***
“The Government is urging all the citizens of the big towns to cultivate detachment. According to this, it’s our last hope of finding an answer to the economic crisis, the confusion of the spirit and the problems of existence.” Eugène Ionesco, Victims of Duty

Monday, November 26, 2007

Press Release

A press release entitled "Perversion of justice, corruption, fraud and the lack of accountability of the British government" has been published on a couple of independent media websites.
You can read it at the following link: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/11/386173.html

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The leaders we deserve

"Leadership is no place for men and women who hesitate to take a stand on critical issues; who look to see who is smiling at them or who is frowning at them before they cast their vote. Someone once said that we have the best leadership that money can buy. There is more truth than humor in that statement." P.Graham

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Magic happens

Extraordinary things happen these days: mysterious vanishings, sudden occultations and various other oddities. And the uncanny thing is that not even the Fraud Squad within the Metropolitan Police have escaped the influence of these unexplained phenomena.
I’ll give you just one example: in July this year, we sent an email to the Specialised Crime Unit in the Met to enquire about the progress of the Gaul case and discuss the opportunity of our providing additional evidence. We received no reply to this enquiry. Over the next four-month period, we sent four more emails reiterating the questions; but still no response.
Having telephoned the detective in charge of the case last month, we found out that our emails had all been lost: i.e. they had all vanished before reaching his inbox.
Consequently, we re-transmitted the correspondence (using the very same email address) and received a promise for a timely reply.
Strangely, that reply has not yet arrived. Stranger still, the detective concerned, it seems, has now … ZAP! … also vanished.
Why?
There is, probably, a technical explanation for all these bizarre occurrences – either that, or somebody up there is playing mischievously with his magic wand.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Out of sight, out of mind

Earlier this year, we published (HERE) a list with the main protagonists in the 2004 Re-opened Formal Investigation into the sinking of the trawler Gaul.
Today we can advise that some of those who were involved in the RFI, on the side of the government, have now moved to other positions, way away from their original milieu.
Lord Goldsmith, the ex-Attorney General on whose behalf the Gaul RFI was held, after ‘three months gardening leave’, has joined Debevoise & Plimpton’s, a US firm where his lordship will re-qualify as a solicitor.
Mr Nigel Meeson, the ex-Counsel for the Attorney General, is now in the Cayman Islands, employed as solicitor by Conyers Dill & Pearman.
Jo Cuningham who, alongside Mr Meeson, represented the Attorney General during the 2004 Gaul RFI has gone to the British Virgin Islands, employed by the law firm Maples and Calder.
And, finally, Mr Laurance O’Dea, solicitor for the ex-Attorney General, is deserting the Treasury Solicitors Office to take early retirement, leaving us to deal with his somewhat less voluble successors.
As far as our government is concerned, these prominent actors as well as the Gaul RFI are now out sight and out of mind.
We will, however, try to keep them all in our thoughts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

“The unspoken word never does harm”*

Further to our post of 31 October 2007, The DfT have not yet provided an answer to our question regarding the identity of those in-house technical specialists who, allegedly, advised the Department not to re-open the Gaul RFI.
And it’s been more than a month since we asked!

The head of Shipping Policy 2 appears now to be more reticent than usual, as he has recently advised that he could no longer liaise with me viva voce, but only in writing. Written communications can undoubtedly protect him better against any potentially harmful Freudian slip on his part, allowing the DfT lawyers to ponder their options first – why else would the Department employ an army of solicitors, if not for the purpose of weighing every comma in any written reply the DfT may have to produce on delicate matters such as ours? Not to mention that written communications can be more easily delayed or even mislaid.
A deep silence is therefore enveloping the Department at the moment.
Meanwhile, withdrawn to their deepest sanctum, the grey eminences of the DfT are busy designing traps which, they cheer their minds at the prospect, may ensnare the civil servant who blew the whistle on the Gaul case, and, hopefully, prevent the final showdown.
_______________________
*Lajos Kossuth

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The government’s thugs

The government’s thugs = a new taxonomic group whose members are made up of more than one cell and can perform specialised functions under remote control. Raw features, eyes dulled with distrust and unfriendliness, they can be seen roaming the land, keeping watch and hissing threats. (See also our post of 01 August 2007)
(This is a snapshot of a recent sighting. Unlike many others captured on our camera, this one has not yet been properly pinned and labelled.)

‘Providing a visible and reassuring presence’ on our alleys and street corners, the thugs have been given the important mission of persuading us to abandon the Gaul case.

Unfortunately, despite all their efforts, we still wish to see it through. Besides, we have already got used to the thugs, so we can now recognize their biology and behaviour as easily as we can tell the fear and hostility of the instigating authorities.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sinking Sequence

Following our post of 31 October 2007 in which we mentioned the DfT’s persistent ‘belief’ in the expert analysis that had been carried out during the Gaul Formal Investigation.
Once again we feel obliged to persist ourselves, by pointing to a number of additional anomalies in this ‘expert analysis’.
These anomalies relate to the 2004 RFI panel’s conclusion that the Gaul sank ‘stern first’ and hit the seabed ‘stern first’ before coming to rest in the position in which it was discovered by Norman Fenton’s survey team in 1997.
The available evidence reveals, however, that the information obtained from the MAIB underwater surveys does not actually support the conclusion of the RFI but, quite the opposite, suggests that, in fact, the vessel sank ‘bow first’ and also came into contact with the seabed ‘bow first’.
(For a more details on this point of contention, please see this linked DOCUMENT.)

Photo mosaic of Gaul wreck's outer hull superimposed on body plan
(Crown copyright)

This more likely suggestion that the Gaul sank ’bow first’ is also consistent with the scenario (put forward within our post of 16 September 2007) in which the fish loading hatches had been opened by the pressure of the air trapped inside the vessel as she was sinking rather than due to crew error, as the RFI panel chose to believe.
Once again it can be seen that the RFI panel examined the available evidence in a loose manner, trimming the edges of the jigsaw pieces so they fitted together into a distorted picture that was meant to deceive.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The closed system

“The Department is satisfied that there is no reason to doubt the outcome of the expert analysis that led to the Re-opened Formal Investigations conclusions and consequently there is no reason to re-open the investigation,” says the message sent to us by the Department for Transport on 8 October 2007.
So, the DfT are still proclaiming their faith in the merits of the 2004 Gaul RFI which, it is no longer a secret, did not lead to anything, except injustice and frustration, driving the whole purpose of a formal investigation onto precarious ground.
“You have informed me that the technical report, related documents and information published on the following sites: http://the-trawler-gaul.blogspot.com and www.freewebs.com/inconvenientcitizen, had been viewed by technical experts within the DfT before your latest decision not to re-open the investigation was taken.
I would therefore be grateful if you could tell me who these in-house experts are.”
We gently inquired the very same day.
Well, the DfT have, so far, been unable to give us the reply. They need, it seems, legal advice on how to answer the question.
Why take such precautions? We had only asked for the names of the experts involved… Is it because no in-house technical specialists have been in fact consulted? The DfT draw their technical expertise from agencies such as MCA and MAIB. These, as far as we know, have not yet been requested to advise the Department on any of the technical matters that had been raised... Is it because their advice might not be what the DfT would like to hear?
Anxious and unable to either refute our disclosures or renege the schemes of the previous administration, the DfT is therefore stuck, mindlessly repeating the same old line.

While it may first appear as bizarre, their attitude is quite explicable: the system created by our political regime cannot simply over-ride itself in order to correct the wrongs of that regime.
Inhabitants of a closed system, like the one described by the Michelson and Morley experiment, our government departments and their institutional dependants are, moreover, unable to observe the absolute actions of that system from the outside - trapped as they are within their own relativity, and so much preoccupied with self-preservation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Making bubbles

In our post of 16 September 2007 we showed that the calculations for the pressure of the air, trapped inside the Gaul as she sank, which are contained in the MAIB report no 4/99 and were relied upon during the 2004 RFI, are incorrect.
These calculations were performed by BMT, the company which MAIB had sub-contracted to carry out this simple task on the their behalf.
Unable, perhaps, to consign the work to one of their own specialists, or even consult their encyclopaedias, or other publications such as Popular Mechanics, the MAIB decided to farm it out. Generously paid for by the taxpayer, BMT appear, nonetheless, to have got it wrong…
Anyway, when recently asked to offer his comments on the errors identified in their report, the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents at MAIB, Mr Stephen Meyer, sent us a rather incongruous and terse reply: our emailed inquiry, he said curtly, did not provide grounds for re-opening the Gaul Investigation (?!) (His strange response reminding us of that absurdist joke with the two elephants in a bathtub; where one said “soap” and the other one said “radio”)
Well, of course our email didn’t provide such grounds: it hadn’t been intended to; it only pointed out that there was a small bit of trouble with their sums.
The rest of our technical evidence and disclosures, however, do provide the grounds - but Mr Meyer, alas, couldn’t comment on that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fahrenheit 451

The Rt Hon John Prescott has never been a scholar; there was no need for that and no one should hold that against him.
However, before the Office of Deputy Prime Minister was created, in the period between 1997 and 2001, as Secretary of State for Transport and Regions, he decided to transform the DETR and its executive agencies (e.g. the MCA[1]), through the hands of his newly appointed managers and disciples, and in accordance with his vision.
Installed in 1998, the new management of the MCA, promptly declared war on elitism – oh, that very notion the mere utterance of which would make John Prescott and his comrades go dizzy in the head – and set out to rejuvenate the Agency.
It was then when the MCA was purged of many of the ‘old-fashioned’ elements, which, in Mr Prescott’s worldview, were not ‘business-friendly’ enough or sufficiently attached to the New Labour cultural ideals. Old-guard civil servants, ex-RN officers and veteran technical staff within the MCA were systematically replaced with loyal and enthusiastic ‘new blood’.
It was also in following with John Prescott precepts, that, in 2002, the MCA had its technical Library destroyed.
Tomes of standards, both new and old, rare editions of technical books, ship construction plans and other hard to get shipping safety publications were declared useless and were committed to flames, skipped or otherwise disposed of. (It was no use explaining that these unique books showed how ships had been built; that the library stock contained invaluable technical references, historic records and other useful and irreplaceable information[2]. The official response was that all these materials, although never electronically published, should be easily picked up from the Internet.)

At the time of the devastation, worried MCA civil servants and technical staff could be seen running around, shirt-tails out of trousers, arms full of volumes, trying to rescue some of the valuable stock from destruction.



The little that is left today of that large deposit of maritime knowledge now probably resides only in the attics of a few MCA staff.
Legacy of the Prescott era, the room where the library once stood has since been sterilized and converted into trendy new offices, cheerful and without a past.
That was also the era, I am sad to mention, when the fate of the Gaul investigation was sealed.
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[1] UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency
[2] Not to mention the fact that they were also a resource, which underpinned the development of contemporary maritime law.
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***
“Janitorial work, essentially. Everything in its proper place. Quick with the kerosene! Who’s got a match!” Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

***
“We must all be alike…everyone made equal…A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind” Idem

Friday, October 12, 2007

Police Complaint

We feel we are now at liberty to publish (below) the written complaint that was submitted to the Fraud Squad of the Metropolitan Police earlier this year (as per our post of 03 April 2007).

(Names and other personal details have been removed from the version published online.)

The complaint is just an introductory part to the evidence we have made available for the authorities.

In due course, we will publish the follow-ups and other relevant information.

"Dear Sirs,

RE: The trawler Gaul tragedy: recent history, the Re-opened Formal Investigation (2004) and subsequent events

We consider that the matters presented below may be worthy of your attention:


My name is [xxxxxxxxx]...[xxxxxxxxx]...[xxxxxxxxx]

In the course of my work there [at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency], I had reason to examine a number of technical issues associated with the design and construction of the trawler Gaul (lost in 1974 with 36 deaths).

In 2002, the reason for the vessel’s loss was still very much a mystery; however, the case was to be re-opened and a Governmental Formal Investigation carried out.

On looking into this case, I noted that the design of the closing arrangements for two refuse chute openings in the hull of the vessel were of poor design and that, in certain circumstances, they could be expected to malfunction. I was also aware that, in rough weather, a malfunction in these arrangements, positioned as they were just above the waterline, could lead to flooding, capsize and the loss of the vessel.

I discussed this matter with my MCA colleagues and the relevant Inspectors from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch
(MAIB), who concurred on this subject. The MAIB subsequently agreed to add these refuse chutes (for disposal of duff and offal waste) to their extensive list of items for examination during their forthcoming underwater survey.



(Email sent by the Head of the Fishing Vessels Safety Branch in the MCA to the Directors of MCA Standards Directorate in
2002)

A detailed underwater survey of the wreck was carried out in July 2002, at which time it was found that the inner and outer closures, for both the duff and offal chutes, were in the fully open position, i.e. in rough weather there would have been nothing to prevent seawater from gaining entry into the hull of the vessel.

The MAIB informed me of these findings at that time, but also advised that I should not discuss or reveal this information to others in view of the forthcoming Re-opened Formal Investigation (RFI).

The Formal Investigation

The RFI, held under the auspices of the DPM, John Prescott, and conducted on behalf of the Attorney General, started in Hull on 13 January 2004 and closed on 27 February 2004; it then re-opened again on 8 October, for one day, to hear additional evidence. The final report of the Investigation was published on 17 December 2004.

Following the publication of the RFI’s final report, I was somewhat surprised to see that human error/negligence, on the part of the crew, had been put forward as the causal factor for this tragedy. I was also surprised to find out that only a very cursory attention had been paid to the design, construction and closing arrangements for these two hull side openings that were deemed to have been critical to the vessel’s loss.

A further examination of the final report and of the evidence that was presented during the RFI, (this is available online at http://www.fv-gaul.org.uk/) revealed a number of inconsistencies, omissions and errors, the cumulative effect of which indicated that the conclusions of the RFI were unsound.

Since that time I have carried out a significant amount of private research, which now clearly points to the fact that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, that this has happened with intent, and as the result of specific actions and inactions by those who were charged with the conduct of this Investigation. (The Investigation was carried out under the supervision of the Attorney General’s office).

In private, some of the technical staff, who had also been involved in the Gaul investigation, expressed their frustrations as to the way the RFI had been conducted and admitted that its outcome had been unsound. They, however, refrained from speaking openly against it.

Recently, we have raised a number of questions with the investigating authorities (the Attorney General’s office (Treasury Solicitor), the DfT, the MAIB and the presiding Judge); they have all been unwilling and, apparently, unable to give satisfactory answers to our concerns.

We have also raised questions in Parliament through our local MP, the answers to which (from the Transport minister) are known to be evasive, misleading and, in some instances, factually incorrect.

One of the reasons why we are bringing these matters to your attention at this moment in time is the fact that both my wife and I have been the subject of considerable harassment during the past four years and that this state of affairs is continuing (both within and without the workplace).

We have, therefore, concluded that the only way out of this situation is to bring the facts out into the open. We have realised that the reason for the harassment is, the fact that we know that the RFI was ‘rigged’ by the Government in order to arrive at a pre-determined and convenient outcome, and that we have evidence to show that this was the case.

While guiding a Formal Investigation along a narrow course towards a pre-determined conclusion may or may not be technically illegal from a procedural point of view, we perceive that obstructing justice in order to prevent interested parties from suing for lawful compensation amounts to fraud; we also consider that this is a perversion of justice, and it is our obligation to bring this matter to the attention of the relevant authorities.

The threats, harassment and intimidation that we have had to endure throughout this period are also against the law.

Harassment

[xxxxxxxxx]…[xxxxxxxxx]…[xxxxxxxxx]

The harassment we are complaining about includes various forms of offensive behaviour and intimidation: noticeable monitoring of our private and workplace communications, hassle from various government bodies, invasions of our privacy, tampering with our car, shadowing and bullying at work, stalking by unknown parties, repeated emails with distressing or bizarre content, strange phone calls and cold call visitors, various other ‘dirty tricks’ and, most worryingly for us, death threats.

Motives

We appreciate that the above contains a number of serious allegations and that it is difficult to believe that our Government would be prepared to go to such lengths on an issue such as this; however, it is suggested that this matter should be viewed in terms of the political fallout that could occur should the initial wrongdoing and subsequent cover-up in this case be revealed. We have evidence supporting these allegations and the Government knows that we have it.

It is considered that the Government’s initial motive for steering the RFI towards a finding of crew error rather than a finding of fault in the vessel’s design is based on the fact that the Government is still notionally responsible for liabilities that arise from the

UK’s shipbuilding yards that were nationalised in 19771. A design fault in the Gaul, leading to its loss, would have rendered the shipbuilders (Brooke Marine -no longer trading) and possibly the Classification Society (the organisation that certified the vessel) liable to claims for compensation from the relatives of the deceased. The sums involved could be significant: current UK legislation puts a limit on such claims at around £1.5m for each life lost.

Initially, my involvement and input into the Gaul case would have been seen as a ‘loose end’ that would need to be tidied up once the conclusions of the RFI were known (after all, as a civil servant, I am covered by the official secrets act). However, this tidying up exercise has not, as yet, led to the desired result and the scale of the cover-up has had to grow to contain the expanding scandal.

In the light of the above, we are now referring this matter to you with the hope that you will investigate the fraud and subsequent cover-up that we believe have been committed and thus help all those concerned to restore justice in this case.

Many thanks and best regards,

[xxxxxxxxx]

Contact details

[xxxxxxxxx]

The two websites mentioned below give extensive information on the technical issues associated with the loss of the Gaul, including commentary, criticism and correspondence:

www.freewebs.com/inconvenientcitizen

http://the-trawler-gaul.blogspot.com/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1 We have raised a parliamentary question on this particular matter (2 November 2006 ref. Brooke Marine) however we have not been able to verify whether the Government’s response to this question is correct and that it reveals the whole truth. In any case, regardless of the Government’s viewpoint it would be for the courts to decide where liability for a shipyard design error actually lay. The Classification Society (Lloyds Register) is still trading.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Non-exclusive

We were contacted today by a 'foreign journalist', curious about our complaint to the police (see the post above) and the events leading to it. He wished to obtain, he said, some sort of exclusivity in reporting 'the story'.

As we have mentioned from the beginning, we have not and we will not offer any exclusivity.
We consider such an arrangement as highly inappropriate. Our posts have been written in the public interest, free for all to see (we hope).

We do not wish to be gagged in any way.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression

"Strong, credible allegations of high-level criminal activity can bring down a government. When the government lacks an effective, fact-based defence, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party.

1. Dummy up. If it's not reported, if it's not news, it didn't happen.

2. Wax indignant. This is also known as the "How dare you?" gambit.

3. Characterize the charges as "rumours" or, better yet, "wild rumours." If, in spite of the
news
blackout, the public is still able to learn about the suspicious facts, it can only be through "rumours." (If they tend to believe the "rumours" it must be because they are simply "paranoid" or "hysterical.")

4. Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspects of the weakest charges. Even better, create your own straw men. Make up wild rumours (or plant false stories) and give them lead play when you appear to debunk all the charges, real and fanciful alike.

5. Call the sceptics names like "conspiracy theorist," "nutcase," "ranter," "kook," "crackpot," and, of course, "rumour monger." Be sure, too, to use heavily loaded verbs and adjectives when characterizing their charges and defending the "more reasonable" government and its defenders. You must then carefully avoid fair and open debate with any of the people you have thus maligned. For insurance, set up your own "sceptics" to shoot down.

6. Impugn motives. Attempt to marginalize the critics by suggesting strongly that they are not really interested in the truth but are simply pursuing a partisan political agenda or are out to make money (compared to over-compensated adherents to the government line who, presumably, are not).

7. Invoke authority. Here the controlled press and the sham opposition can be very useful.

8. Dismiss the charges as "old news."

9. Come half-clean. This is also known as "confession and avoidance" or "taking the limited hangout route." This way, you create the impression of candour and honesty while you admit only to relatively harmless, less-than-criminal "mistakes." This stratagem often requires the embrace of a fall-back position quite different from the one originally taken. With effective damage control, the fall-back position need only be peddled by stooge sceptics to carefully limited markets.

10.
Characterize the crimes as impossibly complex and the truth as ultimately unknowable.

11. Reason backward, using the deductive method with a vengeance. With thoroughly rigorous deduction, troublesome evidence is irrelevant. (e.g. We have a completely free press. If evidence exists that the Vince Foster "suicide" note was forged, they would have reported it. They haven't reported it so there is no such evidence.) Another variation on this theme involves the likelihood of a conspiracy leaker and a press who would report the leak.

12. Require the sceptics to solve the crime completely. (E.g. If Foster was murdered, who did it and why?)

13. Change the subject. This technique includes creating and/or publicizing distractions.

14. Lightly report incriminating facts, and then make nothing of them. This is sometimes referred to as "bump and run" reporting.

15. Baldly and brazenly lie. A favourite way of doing this is to attribute the "facts" furnished the public to a plausible-sounding, but anonymous, source.

16. Expanding further on numbers 4 and 5, have your own stooges "expose" scandals and champion popular causes. Their job is to pre-empt real opponents and to play 99-yard football. A variation is to pay rich people for the job who will pretend to spend their own money.

17. Flood the Internet with agents. This is the answer to the question, "What could possibly motivate a person to spend hour upon hour on Internet news groups defending the government and/or the press and harassing genuine critics?" Don’t the authorities have defenders enough in all the newspapers, magazines, radio, and television? One would think refusing to print critical letters and screening out serious callers or dumping them from radio talk shows would be control enough, but, obviously, it is not. "

* We have underlined the text, which describes those techniques that we feel we have already sampled during our year- long campaign to have the Gaul case objectively re-examined.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

We've been here before

Following up from our posts of 5 and 9 September, and our recent correspondence with the Treasury Solicitors, we announce that we have been taken aback by the latest reply received from the TSol.

Rather than answering our questions or justifying their previous position (which is a shame because we would have loved to hear their answers), the Treasury Solicitors have decided, this time around, to abandon subterfuge, lay down their swords and wash their hands of the Gaul case, passing the responsibility for a final decision on the prospect of re-opening the Gaul investigation back to the Department for Transport.

Well, I am sure Mrs Ruth Kelly was grateful for that; after all the efforts she had made in order to avoid personal involvement, shielding herself with the bodies of various lawyers and civil servants, she is now back in the spotlight.

Unfortunately for Mrs Kelly, the duty to consider our evidence and decide on the necessity of re-opening the Gaul case does, indeed, rest with the Secretary of State for Transport. This is the law and there is no ministerial exception to it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Debunking fallacies

(The hinged inner covers – part 1)
Over the course of the past year we have revealed a number of serious failings in the conduct and conclusions drawn by the 2004 Gaul RFI panel. Throughout this time, the DfT has, nonetheless, persistently avoided re-opening the debate on this subject and doggedly stuck to the RFI official line.
As the fallacies in their final report were being dismantled, they continued to fend off any controversy by wielding what they thought was their ‘biggest’ argument:
[Regardless of any failings in the investigative process, on the day of the loss, the crew could have closed and secured the inner covers of the duff and offal chutes and this action in itself would have saved the vessel.]
Thus, the officials argue, regardless of any failures of the RFI, the over-riding outcome of the formal investigation (that crew error had been instrumental in the vessel’s loss) is still valid and, therefore, a miscarriage of justice did not occur.
As we are going to demonstrate in our future posts, this argument, also, is fallacious in that it, too, relies on misinterpretations of known facts and on conclusions that have been drawn from incorrect or unsound premises. For instance:
  1. The panel concluded that the crew had left the inner covers of the chutes open. Using images from the underwater survey of wreck, they tried to show that one of the inner covers had been tied back in the open position.
    The ligature that supposedly performed this function was clearly just an item of post-casualty debris.
    Moreover, there was evidence indicating quite the opposite –i.e. that both covers might have been closed and secured before the incident happened.
  2. The panel stated that the construction of the inner covers was satisfactory, that they were watertight and that, had they been closed, the safety of the vessel would have been assured.
    This is not at all correct: the inner covers were neither weathertight nor watertight, they were not even supposed to be so, and, if closed, they could not have been relied upon to maintain the watertight integrity of the vessel.
The chutes had two means of protection against the ingress of water from outside: the outer non-return flaps and the inner covers.
Making a simplistic, although very befitting, analogy we can compare the system for closing the chutes to that used to seal a plastic milk bottle: the threaded plastic cap at the outside, providing the strength barrier against spillage, and the tin foil seal on the inside, meant only to stop leakage.
The Gaul RFI, in their desire to obscure the obvious design flaws of the outer flaps, concluded that, no matter the state of the flaps, had the inner covers been closed and secured, the loss of vessel would have been prevented.
This, going back to our comparison, is like saying that, no matter whether your milk bottle has its plastic cap securely screwed on or not, the tin foil underneath should be enough to prevent the milk from spilling, whatever the circumstances and however roughly you handle the bottle.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Laying the blame on those who cannot defend themselves

(click to enlarge)

The areas coloured in orange represent the critical down-flooding openings, which were deemed to have played a part in the loss of the Gaul.
The areas coloured in blue (the funnel vents) are also critical in the down-flooding scenario, although these are meant to be kept open at all times.

The duff and offal chutes were found open on the wreck. The 2004 RFI concluded therefore that they had been left open by the crew.
As we have attempted to demonstrate on these pages and in the attached documents, the chutes’ outer flaps had a design fault, while their inner covers could not provide sufficient protection against flooding.

The fish loading hatches and the net store hatch, as our previous post explained, could have been opened by air pressure or by the force of internal floodwater acting on them from inside the vessel.
The RFI panel’s opinion, however, was that these hatches, also, had been left unsecured by the crew and had opened due to gravity when the vessel was sinking.

The engine room escape door, the RFI surmised, had been opened by one of the crew when trying to escape from the lower deck at the time of the incident.
In the absence of any contrary evidence, the hypothesis that this door had been opened by air pressure is again more probable.

The RFI panel concluded that the access door to the accommodation space, also, had been left open by the crew; and we can contend again that trapped air pressure or internal floodwater pressure could have opened it just as well.

As to the factory deck access door the RFI concluded, this time on the basis of some tangible evidence, that the crew had failed to secure it in the closed position.

All in all, the only conclusion we can draw from the dubious RFI findings is that the 2004 investigation panel was too eager to suggest a pattern of widespread crew negligence and to lay the blame for the loss of the Gaul on the victims to bother about plausibility.
Ignoring the existence of alternative explanations, underpinned by simple scientific principles, the RFI panel chose to put forward a loss scenario that was not only unsupported by any credible evidence, but also defied common sense.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The fish loading hatches on the Gaul

In 1999, in the year following their first underwater survey of the wreck of the Gaul, the MAIB produced their Marine Accident Report no. 4/99.
Amongst other things, this report put forward the MAIB’s hypothesis as to why the two large fish loading hatches on the Gaul had been found open during the survey. This stated that, at the time of the loss, the hatches had been unsecured and that they had therefore fallen open during the vessel’s capsize and sinking ’by the stern’.
As we have attempted to demonstrate in the document published at this LINK, the MAIB analysis, taken as read by the 2004 RFI panel, appears to have been seriously flawed.
The error it contains relates to one of the possible mechanisms that could have opened the fish loading hatches, namely, an increase in pressure of the air trapped between the water that was flooding into the vessel and the under side of the closed hatches.The MAIB report stated that the maximum lifting pressure on the underside of the fish loading hatches was only 478 N/m² (49 kg/m²), and that this would occur, for some unknown reason, when the vessel was exactly 80m below the sea surface. (!?)

A simple calculation can show, however, that if the Gaul had had a trim by the head of only 5º [1] and had been submerged to merely two metres below the sea’s surface, the lifting pressure on the underside of each fish-loading hatch could have been of the order of 900 kg/m² (i.e. approximately 3.5 tonnes per hatch), while the self-weight of each hatch was approximately 0.9 tonnes.

This ‘error’ meant that one plausible scenario for the opening of the hatches was incorrectly eliminated from the formal investigation, while another similarly plausible hypothesis – the possibility of the hatches having been opened by the force of internal floodwater acting on the hatches from inside the vessel – was not even mentioned.

Here again, as in the case of the duff and offal chutes, the preferred explanation was crew error.

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[1] Although both the MAIB and RFI experts have concluded that the Gaul sank initially and sedately by the stern, this theory cannot be relied upon with any degree of certainty, as it does not take into account the dynamic loads and ship motions that the vessel would undoubtedly have experienced, whilst at or near to the sea’s surface and following the redistribution and loss of buoyancy that would have occurred, as it flooded and sank. At the time of the loss the weather was extreme, with a significant wave height of circa 10m and with infrequent individual waves of up to 19m in height.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Clarifications

Following on from our previous post, we can add that the Treasury Solicitor has also informed us that: “To my knowledge, Mr [D****] has not provided a final report and so it would be premature to assume that the formal investigation will not be re-opened.”
The report in question (TECHNICAL REPORT) is just one of the technical documents that we have provided so far. As everyone can see, this site contains additional evidence and links to several other relevant documents, which the DfT/TSol should have noted.
However, the Treasury Solicitor only referred to our first report (?!), which, he states, “as accessed via the Internet”, does not provide grounds for re-opening the investigation.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Seen from above

Insufficient evidence’ is a common response these days to claims for due and proper investigation of high-profile misdemeanours, two magic words that have the power to open the doors to impunity.
We heard them in the cash-for-honours fiasco; we heard them used in several other affairs and now we hear them again with reference to the Gaul case.

Recently, the Treasury Solicitor himself made use of this ‘get-out’ formula when he advised the Department for Transport on the possibility of re-examining the shameful outcome of the 2004 Gaul Investigation.
The Treasury Solicitor, who, during the 2004 RFI, prepared and presented the case under directions from Lord Goldsmith, is now charged with assessing our criticisms of that investigation (published online for all to see).
When asked to justify his pronouncement, he simply told us that our evidence ‘as seen’ did not provide grounds for re-opening the investigation. Fullstop.

Evidence ‘as seen’…?! What could the meaning of this be? Why so inexplicit? Did he think that, if understood, his words would loose their mystical power; or was it just his way of reminding us that the government is too far above the law to have a clear vision of their tasks?

Friday, August 31, 2007

One year to the day since we started this blog

photo by Gilbert Garcin - www.gilbert-garcin.com

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Archimedes, Boyle and Newton - expert witnesses in the Gaul Investigation

The 2004 Gaul RFI concluded that:

- The design of the duff and offal chutes on the Gaul was satisfactory to prevent the ingress of seawater onto the factory deck. (RFI final report, page 285)

- At the time of the loss, there was no physical reason why the watertight covers could not have been closed and secured. (RFI final report, page 286)

Additionally, it was assumed that, apart from leaving open the closures of the duff and offal chutes, the crew on the Gaul had also left unsecured a number of other important weathertight hatches and doors – all during a major storm. (!!!)
(This ‘everything was left open’ assumption was possibly meant to reinforce the RFI panel’s theory of crew negligence: i.e. if the trawlermen had left so many things unsecured, leaving the chutes open would be less surprising – just part of the general pattern.)

But why would the 36 experienced crewmembers do such reckless things? Save for the unlikely possibility that they all ran amok that day, what explanation could there be for such weird behaviour?
Yet, the 2004 Investigation panel decided that the crew had ignored all those protections to the safety of their ship and of their own lives.
No scientific explanation was found, although simple scientific explanations do exist - if you are willing to look for them.

In support of these alternative explanations, we are able to present the evidence given by our expert witnesses: Sir Isaac Newton, Messrs Archimedes of Syracuse and Robert Boyle.
The physical laws established by these honourable gentlemen could be used to prove the existence of alternative loss scenarios. We have already done this for the closing arrangements on the duff and offal chutes on the Gaul, which, we demonstrated, could have easily been opened by the forces of the sea. Bearing in mind that these laws govern cause and effect, it can be similarly demonstrated that a number of other important hatches and doors on the Gaul could have been burst open by the maelstrom of forces unleashed on them as floodwater surged from compartment to compartment, while the vessel was sinking in heavy seas. (More about this will be said in a separate post)

However, once one accepts that other plausible explanations exist, the general crew-negligence scenario, that the 2004 RFI panel seem to have stapled themselves to, becomes increasingly doubtful. To say the least...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Great Firewall of gov.uk

"He, whose long wall the wand'ring Tartar bounds..."Alexander Pope, The Dunciad

Employees of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have recently discovered that they no longer had access to our blog, which, we would like to think, is quite pleasant and informative.
Yet, the fretful nannies in the MCA/DfT have decided that our website has become inappropriate for the readership of these institutions and filtered it out of reach.
Now I remember that, some time ago, the Treasury Solicitor himself advised that he also had had difficulties in accessing our site, which had probably been rated as unsuitable for the innocent eyes at the TSol.

Has our enlightened government somehow perceived the materials published on our blog as containing strong language, nudity or violence? Are we to assume that the government’s Cyber Patrols only allow access to web content labelled with “ Fun for ages 3 to 6” or classed as “Suitable to all ages, without the accompaniment of a parent or legal guardian”?

Or could they have decided, like the old Beotians, to ban all reasons for contrariety?

Update

It now appears that our site was not the only one to have been banned from the MCA/DfT desktops.
The MCA advises that it does not permit access to websites categorised as ‘social networking’, in general. That is their employees cannot access any blogspot sites.
(Anyway, it seems that our other web page:
www.freewebs.com/inconvenientcitizen has, so far, escaped the ideological purge and is still accessible to the MCA.)

Now I wonder: if you don’t want your staff to network with those dangerous reactionaries in the Blogger community, wouldn’t it be enough to simply tell them so?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Brief statement

Mr Tony Bowman - Managing Director of TMC (Marine Consultants) Ltd was the technical expert appointed by the Attorney General to ensure that all relevant technical evidence was presented to 2004 Re-opened Formal Investigation (RFI) and to provide expert advice on the matters related to the loss of the Gaul.
Today I called Mr Bowman and asked for his opinion on the evidence related to the design defect in the duff and offal chutes on the vessel - evidence that had been produced by the MCA and available to those concerned since 2002.
The TMC Director would offer no comment on the matter other than stating that all he had to say about the design of the Gaul’s chutes was contained in the transcripts of evidence and RFI final report.
Well, we’ve had a good look at those documents already…

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Red alert



Please read this: http://thejournal.parker-joseph.co.uk/blog/_archives/2007/8/14/3159136.html
The casual agnostic

During a recent telephone conversation, the Treasury Solicitor, in a gently aporetic style, was questioning the ability of our researcher to investigate matters “going back the best part of 35 years” and make pronouncements on the design of the Gaul’s chutes, such a long time after their conception.
So, the truth about the causes for the loss of the Gaul, the Treasury Solicitor believes, is unknowable to man – too remote and complex a subject for a mortal to wrap his mind around.

Well, it may be so, but that didn’t prevent the 2004 RFI panel, only three years ago, to formulate, rather axiomatically, their opinions; it didn’t stop justice Steel from declaring that the only possible cause for the tragedy was the fact that the duff and offal chutes on the Gaul had been left open by the crew and, just a few months ago, it didn’t put the Treasury Solicitor himself off professing his unshaken belief in the results of the Formal Investigation and in the soundness of the chutes’ design either.

Nevertheless, the latter now holds that we cannot establish that something caused something else, or ever know anything for certain.

As we can never know the cause of the Universe

Monday, August 13, 2007

Yet another flaw in the design

So far, we have revealed that there were two design faults and one, what we would call, error in the in the design of the duff and offal chutes on the Gaul:
The principal design fault (for details, see this LINKED DOCUMENT and this VIDEO CLIP), related to the construction and arrangement of the chutes, meant that the non-return flaps in the duff and offal chutes on the vessel could have been opened by the action of the sea
The second design fault showed the possibility for the bolted assemblies of the non-return flaps to become twisted due to the force of the sea, and remain open thereafter (further details can be found at this LINK).
The design error described in our post of 26 June 2007 was a dimensioning mistake in the shipyard’s construction drawing which, in certain circumstances, could have caused the flap to jam in the open position, after having been opened under the action of the sea. (For further explanations please follow this LINK)
Now, we are presenting yet another design error (explained HERE): a miscalculation of the relative weights of the components of the chutes’ non return flaps, the consequence of which meant that a wave load of only 7.5 kg could have been enough to force them open.
It should be noted that the design of ‘non-return flaps’ within the duff and offal chutes should have enabled them to withstand the forces of the sea, close automatically and prevent water ingress. However, as a result of the inadequacies listed above, the action of the sea could have caused the flaps to fail in their main functions.
Thus, it is evident that the design of the Gaul’s chutes was vitiated by multiple flaws (and, we warn you, there is more to come) and that the unfortunate nature of these flaws was such that they augmented each other’s effects, rendering the vessel unacceptably vulnerable to flooding and capsizing.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pre-emptive actions

Those who have read our post of 27 February 2007 will remember that a design fault in the duff and offal chutes on the FV Gaul was identified by the MCA in March 2002 and put forward as a possible cause for her loss. (See the email reproduced in our above-mentioned post)
In July 2002, the information obtained from the MAIB underwater survey supported this proposition, as the chutes on the shipwreck had both been found to be open.
The Gaul Formal Investigation (RFI) commenced in January 2004, and its final report, delivered twelve months later, concluded that the ship had sunk due to crew and shore staff error.
What is interesting, or rather worrying, to note, especially in the light of our previous post, is the fact that the naval architect who had initially identified the design fault on the Gaul in 2002 has been kept under the spotlight ever since - unseen celestial forces set at work against him, making him wonder, for two years and a half, how a ship nerd could have incurred the wrath of the all-powerful gods.
He would only discover the reason for his punishment after the publication of the final report, at the end of 2004, when he could see for himself that the outcome of the RFI didn’t quite accord with the evidence he knew had been provided to the inquiry.
It was then when he finally realised that the reason was simple: to neutralise the person who knew that the result of the investigation was unsound and designed to preclude any subsequent unfavourable litigation.
After the 2004 RFI, the government’s pressure continued, with bouts of hostility marking each of his attempts to shed light on this matter.

Bearing all these in mind, we can now infer that, although the suppression of evidence in a public inquiry was a risky business, those in power - comfortably installed in the conviction that they had the ability to crush the prying ‘small guy’ and take care of any other loose ends - decided to do it anyway. And this decision was taken two years before the opening of the formal investigation.

Of course, today, after all that has happened, it is a lot more difficult to change the results of the formal investigation; the implications are multiple and serious - one of them being the reflex questions that such an exposure would trigger, questions of the type: If the authorities were prepared to skew a fishing vessel inquiry, what would they do when a lot more were at stake?

On the other hand, if our government and their partners in business are allowed, once again, to get away with it …

***

“The rule of law can be wiped out in one misguided, however well-intentioned, generation.” William T. Gossett


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

State-sponsored terror

If you want to find out about the methods used by the British government against whistleblowers, in order to suppress politically damaging revelations, please visist this site: http://www.gangstalkingworld.com/Handbook/Game.html

or

Covert Government Investigations, using community policing. AKA Gang Stalking
(http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/manchester/
2007/04/368861.html)

Monday, July 30, 2007

You pay, they play

In our posts of 28 April and 03 May, we reported on the difficulties of obtaining a document held by the Department for Transport (DfT) – the joint report of the experts in the 2004 Formal Investigation into the sinking of the trawler Gaul.
On 26 June 2007, in a letter sent to Sandra Gidley MP in response to her similar request, Dr Stephen Ladyman, Minister for Transport at that time, wrote:
“The report referred to in paragraph 8 of the Expert’s Protocol is not in a form that can be easily reproduced or transmitted in its entirety. I would be happy to send you any relevant excerpt if you could submit a more specific request for information.”

One month later, on 26 July 2007, in a letter on the same topic, the DfT takes a different approach:
“The Department has sought advice from the Treasury Solicitor’s office on the status of the Joint Panel of Experts report and has been advised that it is not a public document. It was referred to at the RFI but only the transcripts of the various experts oral evidence were actually placed on the GAUL website.
Furthermore, it is accepted that the material prepared for the RFI was prepared on behalf of the Attorney so strictly the Joint Report is the property of the Attorney.
However, the Department can see no difficulty in providing your naval architect with an opportunity to view the Panel’s report but he should be advised that it is not a public document and it will be provided only on the basis that it remains confidential and the property of the Attorney.“
Questioned further on this subject, the Head of Shipping Policy in the DfT told us that the report in question was so confidential that no copy or reproduction of its contents or of any part of its contents was permitted.
Why cannot the public view a technical document, which was created in the course of a public investigation that cost the taxpayer about £10 mil? Although the public paid for it, the record is now owned by the Attorney General who would not even release copies of parts of the document for research and public interest purposes.
Those who have seen it appear to know why.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hiding under the blankie

Twenty-three days have passed (i.e. way past the ten-day official deadline) since an email was sent to the Heads of MCA and the Department for Transport (DfT), raising the issue of the cover-up in the Gaul RFI, and there are still no signs of a reply.
The officials concerned are silent as birds at the end of the day. The MCA’s recently appointed CEO continues to be hard to catch, invoking pressing engagements and other similar pretexts. (His gofers have discreetly let the word slip that the implications of any review of the Gaul inquiry could be massive. It is possible, of course, that the implications of this case could be massive; but what may be more unfortunate, however, is that the moral stature of the people called to deal with them might turn out to be rather small. Who can tell?)
The DfT is not available these days either. Ruth Kelly has had to refer the complaint to higher fora, while the Shipping Policy branch in the DfT is quietly awaiting instructions from various ‘groups of lawyers’, who don’t seem to have any deadlines or even disclosable identities.
And no one else in the Establishment is daring enough to even mention the name of the Gaul - the ill-fated name that has covered us all in shame.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

La-la-la-Land

On 19 March 2007, just before the complaint of FRAUD, regarding the conduct of the Gaul 2004 RFI, was submitted to the Police, a similar formal claim had been lodged with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
It took SFO no more than 24 hours to answer the complaint; and this is how they ‘justified’ their decision not to proceed with the investigation of a serious fraud allegation:
The matter you report concerns the manner in which the Reopened Formal Investigation of 2002 into the sinking of the trawler 'F.V. Gaul' was conducted and the conclusions that were reached by the investigators. There is no tangible evidence of criminal activity, within the body of offences provided by the criminal law, and therefore this is not a matter the SFO can progress further.”
The justification sounds incredible; of course they were not aware of any tangible evidence of wrongdoing. At that stage, they hadn’t been given any. The complaint had been lodged via their usual on-line form, and, had they been interested (or allowed) to investigate the case, the necessary evidence would have been handed over to them.
In a normal set of circumstances, the SFO would have requested proof in support of the allegation and then decided whether it was sufficient or not.
In reality, they didn’t even bother to ask for it.

In La-la-la-Land, however, anything is possible; anything goes and all wrongs can be accommodated. One just has to stop listening and keep singing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Gaul would have completely lost her stability at an angle of heel of 26°

IMCO’s [1] ‘Recommendation on intact stability of fishing vessels’ states:
(10) In cases where the ship would sink due to flooding through any openings, the stability curve should be cut short at the corresponding angle of flooding and the ship should be considered to have entirely lost her stability.
The Gaul sank due to flooding started at the duff chute opening, when this became immersed at a heel angle of only 26º (see RFI final report Para. 17.5, page 245).

This angle of heel, at which the Gaul’s stability disappeared, was in breach of IMCO’s recommended criteria for the stability of fishing vessels which requires that a vessel should have sufficient stability at angles of heel beyond 30º.
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[1] IMCO – Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization, now known as IMO