Reeling in the loss of the Bahrain boat tragedy

Many who work in the Middle East construction industry will share a feeling of numbness after last week’s tragic events in Bahrain. The kingdom’s tightly knit construction fraternity has been left reeling by its loss. But the itinerant nature of the industry means that the impact of the dhow tragedy will have been felt right across the region, as well as in the home countries of the 58 people who died.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  April 8, 2006

|~||~||~|Many who work in the Middle East construction industry will share a feeling of numbness after last week’s tragic events in Bahrain. The kingdom’s tightly knit construction fraternity has been left reeling by its loss. But the itinerant nature of the industry means that the impact of the dhow tragedy will have been felt right across the region, as well as in the home countries of the 58 people who died. Over the course of the last seven days, many telephone calls will have been made to Bahrain from friends and family fearing the worst, and for some of them the worst will have been confirmed. The senior site management team on the World Trade Center project has been decimated, with Atkins losing nine of its people and Murray & Roberts confirming that 10 people died. It is impossible for anyone who has read the accounts of survivors over the past week to have been unmoved by them. Philip Moody, the general manager of RMD Kwikform died after saving his wife and another woman. He went back under the water to try to help others, but never resurfaced. Many of the other people onboard also had their partners with them, compounding the awful impact of the tragedy. Atkins’ assistant project manager Jason James Brett and his wife Lucinda were among those who died, leaving two young children. Newly wed Scott Belch, who also worked for Atkins as an assistant resident engineer, died with his German wife Sandy, who he had married just six weeks ago. An official investigation is now underway, while Atkins and Murray & Roberts will be conducting their own inquiries into how the boat was ever allowed to go to sea. But already we know that the dhow, carrying 130 passengers, was not seaworthy, was unlicensed to make sea trips and was overloaded. The Bahraini authorities must now ensure that a thorough and transparent investigation is conducted and that those that are found responsible are prosecuted fully. Sean Cronin Editor||**||

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