Company to probe Bahrain tragedy

THE company that employed a Suffolk man who died in the Bahrain pleasure cruiser tragedy has launched its own probe into what went wrong.Six Britons who worked for South African-based Murray and Roberts lost their lives in the disaster, including Will Nolan, originally from Ipswich.

THE company that employed a Suffolk man who died in the Bahrain pleasure cruiser tragedy has launched its own probe into what went wrong.

Six Britons who worked for South African-based Murray and Roberts lost their lives in the disaster, including Will Nolan, originally from Ipswich.

This photograph of Mr Nolan and his wife Nicola, which was taken only two weeks before the boat sank in the Persian Gulf, was also released yesterday.

Brian Bruce, chief executive of Murray and Roberts, said he had not ruled out legal action against anyone found to have been negligent, and did not discount seeking compensation.

It came as Bahrain's chief prosecutor said the investigation into Thursday night's disaster had heard from survivors that the captain made a turn that was “too tight”.

Osama Al-Ofee said a special committee of five experts - including one Briton - will establish what happened.

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In a statement translated from Arabic, Mr Al-Ofee said: “Many of the victims who were on the boat mention, all of them, that the ship was not stable before they left the harbour.

“When they moved it was shaking and the turn from the captain to the left was, they said, too tight. That's why all the passengers and staff moved to the side. Some of them said they will sue those in charge in a civilian case.”

A prosecution spokesman said they could sue together in a case that would be heard alongside criminal proceedings in the same court.

It emerged at the weekend that the capsized Arab dhow only had a permit for use as a floating restaurant anchored to a jetty, but not to go on passenger cruises.

The captain of the boat was detained on Friday and prosecutors can hold him in custody for seven days. After that his case goes before a judge who has the power to extend the custody for up to 45 days.

Mr Nolan, 50, formerly of Bucklesham Road in Ipswich, was one of 15 Britons who drowned in the tragedy.

He and his wife were among a group of employees celebrating the completion of part of the Bahrain World Trade Centre project when the boat capsized.

Although Mrs Nolan was able to swim to safety, her husband died after being stranded on a lower deck.

Mrs Nolan's sister, Louise, from Ipswich, flew out to Bahrain on Friday. She was joined by their mother Molly Gillingwater, from Felixstowe, and the Nolans' daughter Sarah Jane, 18, who is at university in London. Their son David, 16, went to school in Bahrain.

Paul Kenworthy, Mr Nolan's brother-in-law and Louise's husband, said yesterday the situation was a “bit of a mess”.

He added: “At the moment it's just all up in the air. The biggest frustration that Louise has had is trying to get information from people and finding out what is happening.

“Murray and Roberts have now got someone sorting things out and someone to speak to.”

Meanwhile, an Essex family are grieving the death of Jason Brett, who was also killed in the tragedy.

His two children, Louis, three, and Ethan, 18 months, have been orphaned after he and his wife Lucinda died in the disaster. The youngsters have yet to be told what happened to their parents.

The couple moved to Bahrain from Surbiton, Surrey, around two years ago and married on the island a year ago. The family of 32-year-old Mr Brett live in the Southend area and were given family liaison officers from Essex Police at the weekend.

Some friends and relatives of the disaster's victims attended a small memorial service last night at a local rugby club in Bahrain.

Heartfelt messages were also left in a Book of Condolence at St Christopher's Cathedral, which is attended by many of the British expatriate community in the Bahraini capital, Manama.

A total of 58 people of several nationalities died in the tragedy. Seventy-one people survived out of 130 thought to be board. Coastguard divers and helicopters were still searching for one missing person yesterday, a woman from the Philippines.

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