Friday, August 23, 2013

Weighty Matters

During the past 40 years, the Department for Transport (DfT) has gained a wealth of experience in the art of data manipulation and disinformation when conducting official investigations into fishing vessel casualties, especially those in which dubious stability was thought to be a factor in their loss. This expertise is currently being used quite blatantly by the DfT (via MAIB) to both cover their own backs and safeguard the interests of their many business ‘clients’.

Generally, the DfT only feels threatened when it has made a mistake - when there is something it did not do, that it should have done or it did something that it should not have done - and lives were subsequently lost at sea.

In the case of the FV Gaul, the DfT approved her stability (see copy of the stability certificate below), for unlimited operation at sea, just 14 month’s before the trawler capsized and sank (in February 1974), with the loss of 36 lives.

Following the loss of the Gaul, the official investigation, led by the DfT, was quick to put on record that the Gaul had met the IMCO minimum stability standards for deep-sea trawlers “with a substantial margin”. 

In our posts of 1 January 2010 [LINK] and 8 February 2010 [LINK] we were able to point out that this official statement was, in fact, incorrect and we gave details of the Gaul’s ‘arrival in Port’ and preceding sailing conditions where the IMCO minimum stability standards were not and could not be met. 

In our post of 4 August 2010 [LINK] we also described how the stability records for the calculated lightship and sailing conditions of the Trident, which capsized and sank in 1974, with the loss of 7 lives, were callously modified by the Trident RFI experts (hired and paid for by the DfT) to give credence to the “official” view that, at the time of her loss, the Trident substantially met the IMCO stability standards of the day – an official requirement for grant-aided fishing vessel purchases in the early 1970s. 

We also noted in our posts of 28th February [LINK] and 27th April 2011 [LINK] that considerable sums of money had been squandered on worthless model tests, which were deliberately fed with doctored data, to give the results that our officials desired [1]

This blatant deception was only attempted because, contrary to official policies, the Trident’s lightship particulars (and stability reserves) had not been accurately established and verified [2] at the time that she was built. 


The Gaul’s lightship particulars (and stability reserves) were also left unverified when she was built [3], the data used being merely a copy of those derived from the inclining experiment, held in February 1972, on the Ranger Calliope (subsequently re-named Arab).

Testimony by Mr M. Scott (DfT surveyor) - 1974 Formal investigation into the loss of the Gaul - Day 12 page 27 : 

Surprisingly, if you check out the lightweight figures in the footnote below [4] you can see that an additional 11 tons of solid ballast has somehow managed to make its way into the calculations of the DfT, the shipyard and the Owner’s Consultants. When their investigations into Gaul’s stability were put in hand for the 1974 inquiry, it became an integral, unspecified part of the Gaul’s lightship weight. 

This 11 tons of notional ballast was useful in subsequent calculations in that it lowered the Gaul’s vertical centre of gravity (by 180 mm) - and would therefore be readily adopted by those who did not wish the tag of ‘deficient stability’ to be linked to the Gaul’s loss. Nonetheless, at the original FI hearings, the Builders, Brooke Marine, the Owner’s consultants, Y-ard and the DfT all managed to imply that solid ballast was not necessary on the Gaul to meet the IMCO minimum stability requirements (see below):

Mr M. Scott (DfT) - transcripts day 12 page 45 

Mr G. Donaldson (Brooke Marine) transcripts day 9 page 67
Mr A. Gilfillan (Y-ard) transcripts day 11 page 43 – in proposing improvements for Gaul’s 3 remaining sister vessels: 

This notional ballast was also an integral but invisible part of the Gaul’s lightship weight during the subsequent lengthy and expensive testing carried out by Morral in the late 1970s at the National Maritime Institute. This was another instance in which taxpayer’s money was spent on extensive model testing, but in which the basic data was skewed, to give the results that our officials desired. 

If we exclude this 11 tons of phantom ballast (it was not present on the Gaul) from the Gaul’s lightship and then check out her reserves of stability, we can see that this was degraded to the point where she did not meet the IMCO minimum stability criteria on arrival at distant fishing grounds. Furthermore, if she then did not proceed to promptly fill her fish hold with a significant catch of fish, she would be unable to meet the IMCO minimum stability standard throughout the rest of her voyage!


[1] In 2005 the DfT also deliberately destroyed a number of folders of evidence and video that was unfavourable to their desired outcome.

[2] Neither an inclining experiment nor lightship check was carried out on the Trident. 

[3] The Gaul’s lightship data (displacement & vertical and longitudinal centres of gravity) were not obtained from a unique inclining experiment; they were copied instead from an inclining experiment held on the Ranger Calliope (a sister to the Gaul) on 1 February 1972; however, a simple lightweight check, to verify the integrity of the copied data, was not carried out on the Gaul. 

[4] Lightship data obtained from the inclining test on the Ranger Calliope
Displacement = 1099.63 tons, 
Vertical centre of gravity = 20.2 ft above base 
Longitudinal centre of gravity = 9.46 ft aft Midships 
Gaul Lightship data - used for all official stability investigations: 
Displacement = 1110.6 tons, 
Vertical centre of gravity = 20.02 ft above base 
Longitudinal centre of gravity = 9.99 ft aft Midships

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The age of the shills

I know very well that this blog is no longer the right place to make disclosures, however, it ought to be recorded, here as well, that the Counsel for the Department for Transport (Jeremy Burns) made a seriously false statement both verbally and in his affidavit for the court.

We are not quite sure what the motive was - but it has recently dawned upon us that these falsehoods could have given us an unfair advantage against his client.

(We would like to know why and who put him up to it - so expect a big scandal as well as a formal complaint. Hopefully, you will thus realise that having threatened us to keep quiet was a bad idea.) 

It may be tempting for the State to block access to this information, but there are many other ways in which it can be made public. Just like the info regarding a few other members of the legal profession. 

And another thing: any more threats will only make matters worse.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Where they are now

Recent thoughts of the formal investigations that we have referred to on this blog prompted our curiosity to find out more as to the whereabouts of the judges who acted as chairmen in those unfortunate inquiries.

Sir David Steel, for instance, is no longer judge at the Commercial and Admiralty Courts in London. David Steel was involved twice with the FV Gaul: first in a partisan position as lawyer for the Insurance Company, then in a neutral position as chairman of the 2004 RFI.

Although not yet arrived at the age when, as a poet said, passions relax their hold, or when expired judges are customarily wheeled out of HM’s Courts, in October 2011, Sir David Steel quietly left his judicial position and returned to the bar in a less demanding, though no less cushy role of Arbitrator at 10 Fleet Street. Simultaneously, he was also appointed Appeal Arbitrator for the London insurance market. Quite surprising!!! The commercial literature advertising the nobleman’s services now refers to Sir David Steel in terms of “the retired judge”.

The other honourable judge, Sir David Young – the former Sheriff Principal of Grampian, Highland and Islands – who presided over the more recent public inquiry into the sinking of FV Trident has also left his judicial position early, that is immediately after the conclusion of the Trident inquiry.

Justice Anthony Coleman, who chaired the MV Derbyshire investigation, in his turn, left the High Court in 2001, immediately after the MV Derbyshire inquiry had ended, and set out to the Czech Republic to advise the Ministry of Justice there on procedure with a view to the Czech Republic’s accession to the EU. Sir Anthony Colman then went on to become an International Arbitrator for that temple of austerity which is the Dubai International Financial Centre.

So, all these three former inquiry chairmen are no longer judges. The Brotherhood, it seems, has its own, discreet code of honour. Still, we are left with the feeling that these three judges fared far better than the victims of their judgments. This is Britain today – long live the Queen!

More to come

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Penchant for injustice

It now transpires - - that Tony Blair, using his contacts in the US (cemented by taking this country to war) - helped Colonel Gaddafi avoid paying $1.5billion in damages to the relatives of the seven Americans killed when a bomb exploded on a Paris-bound passenger jet in west Africa.

This puts the FV Gaul and the MV Derbyshire RFIs into a clearer perspective.

Friday, August 02, 2013


Selections from our recent complaint to the European Court of Human Rights:

48. Following suggestions received from different quarters, including from the most creditable sources (i.e. most kindly, from within the Royal Family*) – suggestions validated to some extent by the Applicant’s personal experience – the Applicant was given to understand that the UK government has been placed under pressure by the US administration to obstruct any legal process that could make the abuses complained of by the Applicant and details of his disclosures public and proven in a court of law. What is more painfully apparent is that the Applicant and his family have been placed, in their turn, under tremendous pressure (duress) with the aim of preventing the Applicant from pursuing his claims further. The Applicant became aware that there were fears that details of his complaints of harassment suffered outwith the workplace (especially the events which took place during his secondment in Brussels and in which foreign nationals/agencies were implicated ) might be aired in public, and names and affiliations publicly disclosed. As it is understood that some of the Applicant’s former work colleagues had links to the intelligence services, there were also fears that identities, methods and embarrassing details about the conduct of those services could emerge. What was more, the Applicant’s disclosures, if dealt with, would have also tainted/incriminated a number of senior political figures and high-ranking officials from within the British Establishment.

49. It has been also implied that the UK, for the sake of some unspecified political interests, could not contemplate defying the US’s calls for secrecy. When faced with the difficult quandary of deciding how to reconcile the US administration’s demands with the obligation of having regard to due process and the rule of law, the UK, it seems, has chosen to comply with the former, while giving only the appearance of following the latter – to the effect that the Applicant was deprived of a fair hearing of his claim.

We have also complained about the UK government monitoring and interfering with our mail, telephone and electronic communications while we were preparing our case for the UK courts and the ECHR. These actions placed us at a disadvantage in relation to our opponents (i.e. the UK government) by allowing the latter foreknowledge of matters concerning evidence, legal strategy, search for witnesses etc. and the possibility to interfere with these matters. This was another serious breach of the principle of equality of arms and hence of the right to a fair trial.

The complaint also provided evidence of the UK courts' used of blatant falsehoods, legalistic quibbling and disregard for the law in order to avoid hearing our complaints related to the fraudulent public inquiries referred to on this blog.

More details will follow...


* That was when the Tory PM did not appear as vulnerable politically