Stop stonewalling over sinking

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 April, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 April, 1993, 12:00am

THE ship Derbyshire foundered in 1980 with the loss of 44 lives off Okinawa.

The British Government decided, against normal practice, not to hold a formal inquiry.

Despite overwhelming evidence to show the proximate cause of the loss of the Derbyshire as being the built-in flaw at frame 65, the Government continued to deny the need for a formal inquiry.

It was finally allowed after sister ship Kowloon Bridge, already abandoned and in a state of collapse, ran aground on rocks off Stags Head, Ireland.

The Wreck Commissioner did not consider the evidence from the ship which initiated the very inquiry upon which he sat as worthy of consideration.

Only recently have the marine regulators started to address the problem of failing bulk carriers in general.

Hundreds had to die before warnings from the sea that started a decade ago were heeded.

The Derbyshire case was loaded with lessons which could, if applied elsewhere, have saved lives.

However, the interests of a powerful few demanded a cover up.

Why will parties not respond to the unambiguous challenge of Paul Lambert (brother of one of the Derbyshire's crew members who died) and answer the important questions he has asked? Until the Derbyshire case is reviewed properly, until the Minister and others are prepared to give proper answers and stop stonewalling, then this Government can have no credibility.

If it is prepared to hide the truth over Derbyshire it must surely be capable of doing the same thing with other matters. It cannot be trusted.

Captain D.C. RAMWELL MNI Altrincham, Cheshire, UK