Inquiry into loss of UK merchant ship Dara in Persian Gulf p.102

FO 371/157049 1961
102

No attempt was made to start the engine of this boat mainly because of the

difficulty of access due to overcrowding.

No. 9 boat was launched at the direction of 5th Engineer Nazir Ali, and

Deck Tindal, Jai Bhai Nana.

Not every member of the crew has made a statement

but they have filled in a questionnaire and from these it is evident that 37 of
the fisian crew were in this boat - only 7 of them being allocated to the boat

by the musters list.

This boat was the first boat to leave "DARA".

No. 10

boet was launched under the supervision of 3rd Officer Jackson assisted by 2nd

Engineer Birrell.

Again Jackson received a blow on the head in attempting to

control the situation.

This boat was also launched very much overcrowded.

Jackson instructed the ship's carpenter and wireman to take charge of the boat and

was assured that the plug was secure.

Some time after clearing the ship, this

boat capsized also, the circumstances of which we know little about.

We can

only assume that this boat fell on a beam sea and assisted by its poor stability

due to its overcrowded condition, finally capsized.

Some of the passengers whom

we saw stated these two boats sank, but we find it very difficult to believe that

such lifeboats fitted as they were with buoyancy tanks, and surveyed so regula rly

could have sunk so easily.

We have evidence that both of these boats were seen

in the upturned position.

12. Buoyant Apparatus

As previously mentioned this ship was supplied with 28 units of buoyant

apparatus, each certified to support 20 persons in the water.

Hence if all

these units could have been got away, 560 persons could have obtained flotation

support.

23 units were stowed on the sundeck which formed an extension to the Engineers!

house top.

The rapidity by which the fire progressed made it impossible to go

to these units, as prior attention had to be given to the lifeboats, since willing

hands were scarce.

Those that were launched were the five units stowed aft.

We have the story of the difficulty which 3rd Officer Jackson the 2nd Engineer,

Cadet Grimwood and a Khalali (seaman) had to get three women passengers to go

down the painters to the boyant apparatus in the sea, an operation which was
ultimately successful, but only after persistent coercion and demonstration.