The company that runs the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race has called for an independent inquiry into the official investigation of the death of a sailor during the most recent edition of the race.
Clipper Ventures have blasted UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) for “failure of professionalism, impartiality and honesty” in their parallel probes of the overboard incident in the Southern Ocean that cost the life of 60-year-old retired solicitor Simon Speirs on 18 November 2017.
Despite his being tethered to the boat, as Clipper Ventures says, a “freak failure” of a tether safety clip led to Speirs entering the water as he was helping to reduce sail on board the yacht CV30, also known as GREAT Britain, amid increasing winds and sea state.
Spears was recovered from the sea by his fellow crew but could not be resuscitated. He was given a burial at sea the following day.
Clipper Ventures says the conclusions of investigations by the MCA and MAIB into the incident “are the cause of considerable concern” and involve “multiple errors and distortions of the truth” — including a suggestion by an MCA official that a nearby vessel could have taken Speirs’ body home to the UK for burial, when no such vessel existed.
Clipper Ventures also says it suspects that “significant and improper influence was applied to the MAIB investigation by the MCA team” in the bodies’ parallel investigations.
As of 1pm on Sunday 11 August, the MCA and MAIB have not released comment on Clipper Venture’s claims.