Authorization

Cheeki Rafiki yacht operator cleared over sailor deaths

Cheeki Rafiki yacht operator cleared over sailor deaths

(L-R) Crew members James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin all died
The director of a yacht management company has been cleared of the manslaughter of four men who died when their vessel capsized in the Atlantic.The crew of the Cheeki Rafiki died after the 40ft vessel lost its keel and capsized more than 700 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia in May 2014.Douglas Innes, 43, was cleared of four counts of manslaughter by gross negligence following a retrial at Winchester Crown Court.The crew's bodies were never found. The four men on board - skipper Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham in Surrey, James Male, 22, from Romsey in Hampshire, Steve Warren, 52, from Bridgwater in Somerset and Paul Goslin, 56, from West Camel in Somerset - were travelling back to the UK when the vessel lost its keel.
Mr Innes shut his eyes and silently mouthed the words "thank you" to the jury when the first not guilty verdict was read out. The director and his company Stormforce Coaching Limited are awaiting sentencing after being convicted at the first trial of failing to operate the yacht in a safe manner contrary to the Merchant Shipping Act.
Douglas Innes, who ran Stormforce Coaching, was cleared of four counts of manslaughter
The court had been told an "urgent email" had been sent by the crew warning Mr Innes their yacht was taking on water in bad weather. He replied advising the sailors to make sure the life raft was ready and later phoned the UK Coastguard, but the prosecution had argued he had not shown any urgency. The yacht was found overturned and empty on 17 May, two days after the email was sent, with its life raft still on board.But Mr Innes told the court there had been regular inspections and no evidence of keel damage.He said the yacht was taken out of the water for nearly five months in 2013 for the hull to be repainted."If the boat is out of the water for that period of time, I would have inspected it myself as well," he told the jury.
The overturned hull of the Cheeki Rafiki after it was discovered by a US Navy warship
Mr Innes said he only became aware of the extent of damage caused by two previous groundings after the prosecution was launched.The US Coastguard's decision to ends its search and rescue operation after two days resulted in criticism from the sailors' families. It resumed after an intervention by the British government, and the upturned yacht was discovered in the Atlantic Ocean about 1,000 miles (1,609km) east of Cape Cod in Massachusetts with its cabin completely flooded and its windows shattered.The boat was found without any sign of the missing men, and underwater photographs showed the life raft stowed in place.
Bridgwater
Romsey
Nova Scotia
West Camel
Winchester
Southampton
Farnham
See also:
Leave a comment
News
  • Latest
  • Read
  • Commented
Calendar Content
«    Май 2018    »
ПнВтСрЧтПтСбВс
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031