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  Feb 2000

  9 Jun 2000   23 Mar 2001

 

Marchioness/Bowbelle Inquiries

Formal Investigation under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995

Non-Statutory Inquiry into the identification of victims

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NEWS RELEASE  

 001/00 February 2000

 

MARCHIONESS BOWBELLE INQUIRIES: PRELIMINARY HEARING

 

Lord Justice Clarke will chair a preliminary hearing on Tuesday 21 March 2000 in respect of the Formal Investigation (FI) under section 268 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 into the collision between the MARCHIONESS and the BOWBELLE, and the non-statutory inquiry into the identification of victims following major transport accidents.

 

The preliminary hearing will take place at: 10.00am on Tuesday 21 March 2000 at Westminster Central Hall, Storey’s Gate, Westminster London SW1H 9NH. 

 

Lord Justice Clarke’s appointment to conduct both the FI and the non-statutory inquiry was announced by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott on 14 February 2000

 

At this hearing Lord Justice Clarke will give directions on the conduct of the FI and consider the timetable and procedures for the non-statutory inquiry

 

In respect of the FI, the Treasury Solicitor, on behalf of the Attorney General, will serve a notice of investigation on certain individuals companies and organizations, who will then become parties to the formal investigation.  The notice of investigation will contain the questions that the Attorney General wishes to raise at the FI to determine the cause of the accident and to make any recommendations for the future.  

Telephone: 0171 222 7302     Fax: 0171 222 7305

 

It is also intended to serve, with the notice of investigation, a copy of the proposed directions for the FI and the proposed timetable and procedures for the non-statutory inquiry. Any person who is intending to appear should give advance notice in writing by Friday 17 March to:  Mr. A J Sandal, 6th Floor Romney House, 43 Marsham Street London SW1P 3RA.

 

It is anticipated that the substantive hearing of the FI will commence in early October 2000.

Note for Editors:

 

1.   The MARCHIONESS/BOWBELLE Inquiries were ordered following the Thames Safety Inquiry which Lord Justice Clarke conducted in 1999.

 

2.   Sir Anthony Clarke was appointed by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott on 20 September 1999 to conduct the Thames Safety Inquiry.  That Inquiry reviewed the responsibilities of Government Departments, the Port of London Authority and other persons or bodies for promoting safety on the River Thames and advised whether there is a case for a further investigation or inquiry into he circumstances surrounding the MARCHIONESS disaster on 20 August 1989 and its causes.

 

3.      Lord Justice Clarke has been a Lord Justice of Appeal since 1998.  He became a High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division in 1993 and was the Admiralty Judge until 1998.  He practised at the Admiralty and Commercial Bar, specialising in shipping cases including collisions.

 

4.      Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott set out the full terms of reference for the MARCHIONESS/BOWBELLE Inquiries on 14 February 2000.  Mr Prescott announced the appointment of Lord Justice Clarke by Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine of Laird to conduct the FI and his appointment of Lord Justice Clarke to conduct the non statutorily inquiry.

 

5.   The MARCHIONESS tragedy occurred on 20 August 1989 when the dredger Bowbelle collided with the Marchioness with the loss of 51 lives.

 

6.   The Inquiry team working with Lord Justice Clarke is based at 6th Floor Romney House, 43 Marsham Street London SW1P 3RA.  All communications should be sent to Mr. A J Sandal.

Media enquiries: 0171 222 7331

Public enquiries: 0171 222 7302

Fax: 0171 222 7305