The father of a fisherman lost at sea is to have an urgent meeting with Rural Economy and Connectivity Minister Fergus Ewing over the Scottish Government’s refusal to raise his boat.
Scott MacAlister, a 40-year-old dad of three, was lost when his small prawn boat Speedwell went down off the isle of Easdale, south of Oban.
His father Peter MacAlister had been calling for the boat to be raised since the tragic accident took place five years ago.
He hopes that this will allow them to recover his son’s body and give answers about what caused the boat to sink.
Mr MacAlister has heightened his campaign since the Scottish Government took action to raise the Nancy Glen, a larger trawler which went down near its home port of Tarbert, with the loss of two lives.
The Nancy Glen sank in Loch Fyne in January to a depth of 460ft and following a complicated operation costing an estimated £1 million, the boat was raised in April.
It meant that the bodies of Duncan MacDougall, 46, and Przemk Krawczyk, 38, were recovered. In the weeks following the salvage operation, police confirmed that they would carry out a criminal investigation.
Now Mr MacAlister is calling on the government to do the same for his family.
In the latest refusal to raise Speedwell, Mr Ewing wrote to Mr MacAlister just days ago: “As has been explained, the Scottish Government cannot intervene in all cases where the sinking of a vessel has led to a loss of life and it was the particular circumstances surrounding the Nancy Glen that led to a decision to raise the vessel.”
Mr Ewing did, however, offer to meet with Mr MacAlister, an offer he wants to take up as a matter of urgency.
Mr MacAlister has written back to the Minister to say: “You do not explain how or what these circumstances were or why the case of the Speedwell does not comply with or demand the same considerations.”
He believes the refusal to raise the Speedwell denies the family the opportunity to recover the body and denies them the opportunity to present physical evidence of the boat’s condition at the FAI due to be held into Scott’s death at Oban Sheriff Court on June 4.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said arrangements are being made for the meeting.
Disappointment as family’s petition is dismissed
A move by the MacAlisters to introduce a petition calling on the Scottish Government to raise the Speedwell has been unsuccessful.
It was hoped the petition could be lodged and gather enough signatures to be discussed by the Scottish Parliament’s petitions committee.
However a spokeswoman for the Parliament said: “Petitions to the Parliament must relate to issues of national policy or practice rather than an individual or local matter.
“Unfortunately, the action called for in the petition did not meet this rule.
“Parliament staff have suggested alternative ways in which the issue raised in the petition could be taken forward.”
The family is now hoping to lobby MSPs to ask a question for them in parliament.