The fatal accident inquiry into the death of a fisherman lost at sea has been adjourned to allow his family to seek legal representation.
Scott MacAlister, a 40-year-old father of three, was the only crewman on the prawn trawler Speedwell when it sank on April 25, 2013.
Yesterday, the FAI into the incident off Easdale island, around 14 miles from Oban, was due to begin at Oban Sheriff Court.
Mr MacAlister’s father Peter MacAlister and his uncle John MacAlister attended to represent the family’s interests.
It emerged that Speedwell’s owner, John Connell, had been able to secure last minute legal aid to be represented at the inquiry.
Sheriff Ruth Anderson asked the MacAlister family why they had not sought legal aid and they said they had been informed they would be unlikely to be successful.
Mr MacAlister snr had previously said he had little faith in the proceedings providing any answers as the boat has not been lifted from the seabed.
The sheriff said it was most unfortunate that they did not have legal representation and gave them time to look at some of the productions and consider their position.
After doing so, John MacAlister said that they would like to take the opportunity to apply for legal aid and seek representation.
The inquiry was put off until September 25, with an earlier hearing due to take place on August 4.
Speaking to the family, Sheriff Ruth Anderson said: “I hope that just being here today has perhaps helped to try and get things a little bit more in perspective about this.
“This is just an inquiry. In the course of proceedings it really does help if everybody co-operates. Nobody is trying to hide anything. You might not get the answers you think there are out there.
“Sometimes there are questions that we have in life that we never find the answer to.
“I am hoping this morning’s proceedings will set your mind a little bit at rest about how the procedure works here.”
The MAIB published its final report in January 2014. It concluded that: “Speedwell probably sank as a result of water ingress through an unsealed and unsecured flush deck hatch leading to the vessel’s aft store.”
The MAIB recommended owner John Connell ensured any boat he owns in future is operated safely.