Parents to sue over sea cadets’ Portsmouth death

TRAGEDY Jonathan Martin
TRAGEDY Jonathan Martin
23/11/2016 (DR)

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THE parents of a 14-year-old boy who died after falling from a ship’s rigging during the Sea Cadets’ 150th anniversary celebrations have launched legal action.

Andrew and Julie Martin are suing the Marine Society & Sea Cadets on the grounds that safety procedures on the ship were inadequate.

As reported in The News, Jonathan Martin was 30ft high on the ship’s mast when he lost his balance and plummeted to the deck before falling into the sea.

The tragedy happened last May when the TS Royalist was anchored in Stokes Bay after taking part in the Sea Cadet Festival in Portsmouth.

Jonathan had been a member of Ashford Sea Cadets in Kent for two years. His family are now seeking compensation and want the health and safety rules to be tightened up, including adult supervision when children are working at a height on sea vessels.

Mr Martin, who lives near Ashford, Kent, said: ‘The loss of Jonathan has been devastating to our family and we will never get over it. Jonathan loved being a sea cadet but we feel he was let down by a lack of safety precautions which led to this tragedy.

‘We hope taking legal action will raise awareness of the need for health and safety guidelines for young people taking part in activities on vessels to be improved.’

Officials at the Marine Society & Sea Cadets said it had already put into action improving safety guidelines following recommendations from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

A statement added: ‘The safety of our staff, volunteers and cadets, in equal measure, is of paramount importance to the charity as evidenced by the 30,000 cadets who have sailed on the tall ship over the last 39 years without similar incident. We fully recognise the importance of never resting in continual improvement of our safety regimes across all our operations.’