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British engineers killed in Bahrain boat tragedy

ENGINEERS FROM the UK and South Africa were among the 57 people killed in a pleasure boat disaster in Bahrain last month.

Among the dead were at least six Atkins staff, who had been working on the Bahrain World Trade Center project.

South African contractor Murray & Roberts sent counsellors to the scene to help those of their staff caught up in the tragedy.

All the passengers on board were celebrating the topping out of the twin 240m high towers on the £85M ($151M) Trade Center.

Atkins confirmed the identities of six staff who died plus two of their wives.

A total of 10 of the Atkins party of 14 lost their lives, but names of the remaining two casualties had not been released as NCEI went to press. Books of condolence have been opened at the Atkins site office and at other Atkins offices world wide.

Falsework supplier RMD Kwikform general manager Philip Moody also died after rescuing his wife and another woman passenger.

Murray & Roberts lost 10 senior staff, one of whose partners died as well. Several of the contractor's team were from the UK. The employers of the other 35 casualties were unknown as NCEI went to press.

In a statement, Murray & Roberts said it had mobilised a replacement management team to take leadership of the project. It is working in joint venture with local firm Nass.

It added: 'Safety in the workplace is about 'state of mind' and we need to be certain that our managers and supervisors are focused on the job and not on the tragedy.'

What happened

Reports from Bahrain suggest that the 30m long, relatively narrow beam hull of the boat that capsized was a glass reinforced plastic replica of a local shing vessel known as a banoosh.

At some time at least two upper decks had been added to convert it into a oating restaurant - the open top deck apparently extended only over part of the ship's length.

Windows were 'unbreakable' laminated glass or plastic. This extra top structure made the boat extremely 'tender' - prone to roll excessively and verging on the edge of instability with its upper deck crowded.

It had apparently only begun operating as a cruise boat three weeks before it capsized.

Its unsuitability for the role is exemplied by reports that heavy catering equipment such as freezers and soft drinks dispensers were unsecured.

When the boat apparently heeled sharply during a tight turn to port this heavy equipment and other unsecured furniture slid down to the starboard side, triggering a rapid capsize.

The victims

Atkins Scott Belch, assistant resident engineer

Sandy Belch, wife to Scott

Jason Brett, assistant project manager

Lucinda Lamb, wife to Jason

Andrew Debrunner, resident engineer

Basanth Kumar, senior site electrical engineer

Carl Ottewell, construction supervisor

Sameer Thorat, resident architect Murray & Roberts

Jimmy Alan, design co-ordinator

Furquan Ali, works superintendent

Chris Braysher, commercial manager

David Evans, project chairman

Stephen Grady, nishes manager

Mohammed Hasnian, project engineer

Alan Jeppe, engineering surveyor

Mohammed Majeed, project accountant

Will Nolan, project director

Lawrence Sulman, project engineer

Cathy Judd, partner RMD Kwikform

Philip Moody, general manager

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