Saturday, June 16, 2007


Some of those who have read our previous POST may wonder whether the definitions used in the 2004 Gaul RFI were tailored to suit the conclusions of the investigation or whether they were just an unfortunate mistake that, it so happened, had a serious impact upon the outcome of the inquiry.
We cannot provide an answer in this respect, but we can supply some additional information:
- The definitions for ‘watertight’ and ‘weathertight’ are common knowledge amongst marine professionals, so it would be unreasonable to assume that the panel of experts in the Gaul RFI were not familiar with these classifications.
- Justice David Steel, the Admiralty judge, who conducted the formal investigation into the loss of MV Herald of Free Enterprise (1987), seemed, at the time, to be well aware of the correct meanings of the terms:
“[the term]…Watertight is applied to doors and bulkheads where there is the possibility of water accumulating at either side. Weathertight applies to doors or openings, which are only required to prevent the ingress of water from the side exposed to the weather.”[1]
[1] David Steel Q.C., mv Herald of Free Enterprise, Report of Court No.8074

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