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Board of Inquiry Terms of Reference announced



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NEWS RELEASE DPIO 71/98 iff Thursday, May 7,1998

BOARD O F IN Q U IR Y TERM S O F R EFEREN CE ANNOUNCED

The Maritime Commander, Rear Admiral Chris Ritchie today announced die terms of

reference of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) which will be appointed to investigate the

circumstances of Tuesday’s accident on board HMAS WESTRALIA, which resulted

in the deaths of four of the ship's company, and injuries to five others.

Admiral Ritchie said the Board, which will conduct open hearings, will convene on

Monday 11* May at HMAS STIRLING in Rockingham, Western Australia.

He said it was important to understand that the Board of Inquiry, as defined by the

Terms of Reference, is to determine the facts surrounding the tragedy.

“While the Board can make recommendations, it cannot implement those

recommendations. Any recommendations the Board makes will be considered by

myself and flic Chief of Navy to decide on any future action,” he said.

The Board will be assisted by the three legal counsel to gather, collate and present

evidence to the Board. They will also advise the Board of its powers under the

Defence (Inquiry) Regulations. The legal counsel will be headed by Captain Peter

Callaghan who is a senior counsel.

Names of the Board members will be finalised tomorrow. The Board is expected to

sit for about two weeks.

F u rth er inform ation:

LEUT Emma Williams 02 9563 4627 / 0411 252 997

Issued by the Directorate of Public Relatione, Department of Defence, Canberra ACT, 2600

ATTACHMENT A

TERM S O F REFER EN C E

The inquiry is to investigate all the relevant circumstances surrounding the fire in

HMAS WESTRALLA on Tuesday 5 May 1998, the death of personnel in that fire and

the injury of other members of the ship’s company.

The inquiry should include but not be limited to:

(1) The cause of the fire and the manner in which it was fought.

(2) All the circumstances relevant to the death and injury of personnel.

(3) The involvement of the ship’s company including their training and competence.

(4) The materiel state of HMAS WESTRALIA at the time of the fire.

(5) The involvement of other naval units and external agencies.