Safety faults lead to Bahrain tragedy

A GRIEVING Suffolk family of a man killed in the Bahrain ferry disaster have spoken of their ongoing horror after a coroner outlined a catalogue of safety failings that caused the tragedy.

A GRIEVING Suffolk family of a man killed in the Bahrain ferry disaster have spoken of their ongoing horror after a coroner outlined a catalogue of safety failings that caused the tragedy.

Will Nolan, 50, of Bucklesham Road, Ipswich, was one of 58 people killed when the wooden dhow Al Dana sank in calm waters on March 30.

His wife, Nicola, was able to swim to safety but Mr Nolan drowned after being trapped on a lower deck of the vessel.

Yesterday, at an inquest in London, coroner Alison Thompson highlighted a series of safety breaches that caused the boat to capsize.


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And after the hearing, Clive Garner, the solicitor representing many of the bereaved families, including the Nolans, said claims for compensation would now be made.

Mr Nolan's family has today spoken for the first time of their devastation at the tragedy.

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Louise Kenworthy, Nicola's sister, paid tribute to Mr Nolan.

She said: “Will's untimely death has been a terrible shock for all the family.

“The horror of this event will never leave Nicola and the children, who are left now trying to make sense of the tragedy that should never have happened.

“Will was a devoted father and adored husband. He was born in Birmingham and brought up in Wales.”

Working nationally and internationally as a chartered civil engineer, he married Nicola from Felixstowe and had two children, Sarah-Jane, 19 and David, 17 and although they lived in Bahrain they regularly returned to Ipswich.

As project director of the Bahrain World Trade Centre the Nolans were celebrating the topping out of the building when the tragedy happened.

Ms Kenworthy added: “His strength and generosity and big heart endured him to work colleagues, family and friends. His untimely death has been a terrible shock for all the family.

“The horror of this event will never leave Nicola and the children, who are left now trying to make sense of the tragedy that should never have happened.

“The task of picking up the pieces after this disaster continues. We are full of admiration for Nicola because she is currently working with the British Embassy in Bahrain to secure an appropriate site on the island for a permanent memorial to be erected in memory of all the 58 victims.”

Yesterday's inquest heard “inherent instability, poor safety equipment and an unqualified crew” all contributed to the tragedy, which killed 15 Britons.

Ms Thompson, sitting at West London Coroner's Court, found that the vessel had been “dramatically altered” and destabilised by a superstructure built on to it, made worse by the fact there were 130 people on board.

Air conditioning units, a kitchen, fridges and a generator were all added to the boat. The inquest heard that escape doors on the lower deck were locked, while lifebuoys were fastened to handrails with nylon ropes.

In a statement read out during the inquest, Mrs Nolan told of the moment the dhow rocked left, right and then left again before capsizing.

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