Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What is this all about (a brief recap)

This blog was started in 2006 as a critical response to the outcomes of the 2004 Fishing Vessel Gaul’s Re-opened Formal Investigation (RFI) and of the public inquiries held into two other major maritime tragedies:
FV Trident - lost in 1974 with 7 crew on board – first inquiry held in 1975 – re-opened inquiry held in 2010 and
MV Derbyshire – lost in 1980 with all 44 crew – first inquiry held in 1989 – second inquiry held in 2000

Since 2006, we have tried to shine a light on the corrupt means by which the British State distorted the facts, withheld the truth from the public and has dealt with our subsequent disclosures.

The Hull trawler Gaul sank in 1974 with the loss of all 36 crew.  The initial inquiry into its loss was held in 1974 and concluded that the ship had been overwhelmed by a succession of high waves in heavy seas and capsized. The wreck was located in 1997, surveyed in 1998 and 2002; and, in 2004, a formal investigation was re-opened under the auspices of the then deputy prime minister John Prescott and conducted on behalf of the then Attorney General Lord Goldsmith.
At the end of a year-long examination into the causes of the Gaul’s loss, the presiding judge, justice David Steel concluded that the trawler had capsized due to internal flooding through the vessel’s duff and offal chutes (side openings in the hull) which, he decided, had been negligently left open by the crew.

The panel tasked with conducting the 2004 formal investigation were prepared to consider a multitude of possible causes for the loss of the vessel, including the most spectacular: “… seizure, scuttling, fire, collision, explosion, missile attack, torpedo attack, striking a mine, icing, cargo shift, structural failure, grounding, snagging a seabed cable or a submarine…

…but not the obvious design faults and errors in the construction and arrangement of the Gaul’s waste disposal chutes (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)(which had been known to the government since before the Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s 2002 underwater survey) and the stability shortfalls of the vessel (9, 10, 11, 12, 13) (recognized since 1974) the combined effects of which had rendered the vessel unsafe and led to her loss (14).

Although all these matters were known to the government beforehand, the 2004 Re-opened Formal Investigation took active steps to avoid attributing the loss of the Gaul to any of these technical deficiencies. Hence, the public was denied the truth and the families of the lost crew of the Gaul were denied justice and the possibility to claim their right to lawful compensation

The Gaul RFI was not, however, the only flawed inquiry into a maritime tragedy: the inquiries into the loss of MV Derbyshire - the 91,655 gross tons bulk-carrier built in 1976 and lost in 1980, and, the most blatantly unsound inquiry of all, the re-opened formal investigation into the loss of FV Trident - a Peterhead-registered trawler that sank in 1974 - showed the same disregard for the facts and arrived at conclusions that were solely intended to block the possibility of subsequent litigation for the victims’ families.
One of us was employed as naval architect by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at that time and was involved in the Gaul’s 2004 RFI and prior goings-on, and also carried out follow-up work for the Derbyshire RFI. We therefore had access to relevant and undisclosed government documents and carried out subsequent research.

Since blowing the whistle in 2006, we have published a significant amount of factual evidence and technical detail with a view to persuading the government and its relevant bodies to re-open the investigation and reveal the truth about the loss of the Gaul. The authorities, however, rather than putting things right, decided to continue withholding the truth and shoot the messenger [15, 16].  As time has passed, the crimes committed in hounding us and maintaining these cover-ups have accumulated and grown much worse than the original fraud.

Until 2010, the Labour governments under PM Blair and Brown, in solidarity with their own corrupt ministers and officials, had a direct, existential interest in hiding the truth about their rigged inquiries.
Yet, even after the 2010 general election, and with a Conservative Party in power, the cover-up has continued to this day – the current government exercising undue pressure and using us as bargaining chips in their inter-party politics and to fend accusations against their own members and acolytes (17, 18).
Legal cases imitated by us since 2010, which should have exposed the past wrongdoing, have been crudely sabotaged by the State, and as for the press that should have been alert to such abuses, everybody seems to have been silenced.
After a long break, we shall now catch up with you and start providing further details about all these matters.

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