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Family make move to have missing fisherman declared dead

Scott MacAlister
Scott MacAlister

The family of a fisherman missing at sea are taking legal steps to have him officially declared dead.

Scott MacAlister, a 40-year-old father of three, from the isle of Luing, south of Oban, has been missing for three years.

He was the sole occupant of the 27ft prawn boat Speedwell when it went down off Easdale island on April 25 2013.

His body has never been recovered and his mother, Lala MacAlister, 66, previously told the Press and Journal that she believes it is still on the boat.

Now an action has been raised at Oban Sheriff Court under section 9 (1) of the Presumption of Death (Scotland) Act 1977.

A public notices states: “An action has been raised in Oban Sheriff Court, Albany Street, Oban, by Mrs Eliza Martin MacAlister, Pursuer, to declare that Scott Albert MacAlister, Defender, who’s last known address was Rushlea, Toberonochy, Isle of Luing, Argyll, is dead.

“Any person wishing to defend the action must apply to do so by June 10 2016 by lodging a minute seeking to be sisted a party to the action with the sheriff clerk.”

Mrs MacAlister and the family of Scott MacAlister did not wish to make any comment at this time.

Since the sinking they have called for the Speedwell to be brought to the surface to allow a full investigation to take place.

The Crown Office has confirmed that a Fatal Accident Inquiry will take place, however they do not have any dates at this time.

A spokesman said that raising the boat would be a matter for the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

The Crown Office spokesman previously said: “The Crown intends to hold a FAI in relation to this death and will ensure the family of Mr MacAlister continue to be updated as to any developments.”

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.”

It added that other factors included a faulty bilge pump and bilge alarm, the single-handed operation of the vessel which seriously compromised the skipper’s ability to deal with the situation, and lifesaving equipment that was out of date, had not been serviced and was not used.

The MAIB recommended that owner John Connell take steps to ensure any boat he owns in future is operated safely.

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