TRAWLER: The Dianne being lifted out of the water.
TRAWLER: The Dianne being lifted out of the water. Ashley Clark

Skipper gives evidence into cause of Dianne capsize

CONCERNS have been raised over a rope that became entangled in a propeller of the Dianne and may have contributed to the fatal capsize.

Relief skipper Adam Kelly was one of many to give evidence on Tuesday at the joint inquest into the sinking of vessels Cassandra and Dianne.

The second part of the inquest focused on the sinking of Dianne on October 16, 2017 and the loss of six crewmen.

The bodies of skipper Ben Leahy and Adam Hoffman were found by police divers in the days and weeks following the incident.

The bodies of crewmen Chris Sammut, Eli Tonks, Adam Bidner and Zachary Feeney were never found.

Ruben McDornan was the sole survivor of the sinking.

The court was told Mr Kelly and Mr Leahy regularly relieved each other after dive trips.

Mr Kelly came home from a trip on the Dianne two days before Mr Leahy took it out on October 16.

Mr Kelly had worked on and dived from the Dianne for nine years before the sinking.

During the inquest Mr Kelly was shown several photographs of the Dianne while it was submerged and after it had been recovered.

The photographs showed several types of ropes, including the sea anchor rope which had become entangled in the propeller.

It was put to Mr Kelly that Mr Leahy may have lowered the sea anchor to slow the boat in the rough seas.

It was put to Mr Kelly that this caused Mr Leahy to lose control of the vessel.

Mr Kelly said if the anchor was lowered with the vessel going any faster than eight knots it would cause significant damage to the vessel.

He said it was not Mr Leahy's practice to do so.

Mr Kelly said it was likely the anchor dropped when the boat turned upside down and the anchor rope became entangled from the tides.

However, Coroner David O'Connell said the entanglement looked too tight to be the work of tides alone.

Other concerns raised during the inquest were the stability of the vessel and whether items were secured.

Counsel assisting John Aberdeen said a freezer had become dislodged and jammed into the doorway of the accommodation cabin.

A QPS diver later had to dislodge the freezer to search inside the accommodation cabin, where the first body was found.

Principal naval architect of Maritime Safety Queensland Mark Devereaux investigated the capsize and gave evidence at the inquest.

He compiled a report that concluded it was likely Dianne succumbed to the sea and weather conditions. Mr Devereaux said the southeasterly sea movement created dangerous conditions for the Dianne.

Questions were also asked about the 24 oxygen tanks secured to and stored on the roof awning of the vessel and whether it might affect the vessel's stability.

Mr Devereaux said it was possible.

He said the height of the tanks on the roof would contribute to the position of the vessel's centre of gravity.

The inquest continues.



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