HL Deb 08 July 1991 vol 530 c83WA
Lord Clinton-Davis

asked Her Majesty's Government:

On what grounds the report of the Chief Inspector of Accidents into the accident between the trawler the "Wilhemina J" and the cargo ship "Zulfikar" in April 1991, which resulted in the sinking of the trawler and the loss of her six-man crew, was ordered by the High Court not to be distributed; whether the Department of Transport has appealed or proposes to appeal against that order and, if not, why not.

The Minister of State, Department of Transport (Lord Brabazon of Tara)

The document referred to is not the Chief Inspector's report required by the Merchant Shipping (Accident Investigation) Regulations. It is a special bulletin.

Solicitors representing the Cypriot owners of the "Zulfikar" obtained a High Court injunction restraining the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents from publishing a special bulletin on the grounds that it was outside his authority; they also applied for a judicial review.

Treasury Solicitors advised the owner's solicitors that an injunction could not be taken out against a servant of the Crown. This was accepted by the owner's solicitors, who in turn sought from the High Court a stay against publication of the special bulletin until the judicial review had been heard. The matter is currently in the hands of Treasury Solicitors.

None of this will affect the eventual publication of the Chief Inspector's report under the regulations.